Die Panne

Revision as of 11:18, 30 March 2023 by Satj (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Die Panne ("The breakdown") is the name given to four related German works by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990)[1].

They are a radio drama, a TV drama, a novel and a stage play

Also found with a subtitle as: Die Panne: eine noch mogliche Geschichte ("The breakdown: another possible story").

The original text

Written as a radio drama the tale tells the story of Alfredo Traps, a traveller who, when his car breaks down, is taken in for the night by a former judge, where he is invited to participate in a nightmarish game with the judge and his three friends — a former prosecutor, defense attorney and public hangman.

The radio play won the 1956 Blind War Veterans’ Prize for best radio play and the literary award of the newspaper Tribune de Lausanne.

Other versions of the play

Dürrenmatt almost immediately adapted the radio drama as a short novel (1956) as well as a TV play (directed by Fritz Umgelter for Bayerischer Rundfunk, 1957) and later also a stage play (1979)

The novel

The novel was translated into English as A Dangerous Game by Richard Winston and Clara Winston (known as Traps in the USA).

The TV film

Die Panne : eine noch mogliche Geschichte published by Arche in Zurich, 1966.

A large number of films based on the story have been made since. (See the Wikipedia entry on A Dangerous Game for a partial listing)[2].

Stage versions

The first stage versions seem to have been translations, e.g. The Deadly Game (1960, American play by James Yaffe) and Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe ("Silence! The Court Is in Session") (1967, Marathi play written by Vijay Tendulkar)

The German version by Dürrenmatt himself was performed and published in 1979.

South African translations and adaptations

The play translated from the original German play into Afrikaans by Bartho Smit and entitled Teenspoed: 'n nog moontlike verhaal ("Ill Fortune: a still possible tale") First published by Human & Rousseau in 1961 and later included in the collection Bartho Smit-vertalings No 2, by HAUM in 1985.

An adaptation of the original radio drama as a stage play in Afrikaans was done by Leonora Nel in 1964, this time with the title Spel.

Bartho Smit's Afrikaans version was adapted for radio by Cor Nortje as Teenspoed. A copy of the text, found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022, hand dated 1982 by Jos Willems (then manager of the Departmental office). It was rebroadcast by the SABC in December 2007.

Performance history in South Africa

1964: Spel was presented by Pro Arte in Pretoria in 1964 starring, among others, Lourens Odendaal.

1971: Teenspoed was to have been presented in conjunction with Wolf, Wolf hoe laat is dit? (Aucamp) and Karel (Sławomir Mrożek) by Libertas Theatre Club under the direction of Marie van Heerden, opening 29 October 1971. However, in the absence of any theatre programme or newspaper reports (especially in the local Stellenbosch weekly paper Eikestadnuus), it is assumed that the production never materialised.




Twaalfde Nag programme notes, PACT 1964.

Announcement of future Libertas Theatre Club productions, Mary, Mary theatre programme, 1971.

Copy of the radio version of the Afrikaans translation found in the Stellenbosch University drama archives in 2022.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page