Die Toneelstuk

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There are two South African plays by this name.

Die Toneelstuk by Breyten Breytenbach

("The Play") by Breyten Breytenbach (2001).


Die Toneelstuk, subtitled ‘n Belydenis in Twee Bedrywe (A Confession in Two Acts) looks, like Breytenbach's earlier The Life and Times of Johnny Cockroach, at the present through a mirror reflecting the past. While he was in solitary confinement serving a prison sentence for high treason during the apartheid era, Breytenbach had a dream one night which decades later became the stimulus for writing Die Toneelstuk. In his dream another political prisoner, the great Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, appeared in the door of Breytenbach’s cell surrounded by a bright light and he asked the poet to complete the unfinished poem mentioned in his novel The Brothers Karamazov (Basson, 2001).

This was the inspiration for another richly worded, overwhelming spectacle full of subtle, often obscure references and outrageous images. (Van Heerden, 2008:pp. 123-124)[1].

First published by Human & Rousseau in 2001.

Performance history in South Africa

2001: First produced at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn in 2001, directed by Marthinus Basson, with Antoinette Kellermann, Albert Maritz, Christopher Gxalaba, Jan Ellis, Chan Marti, Anton Smuts, Rob van Vuuren. Lighting by Albert Snyman.

Translations and adaptations


Die Toneelstuk theatre programme.

Pretoria News, 18 April 2001.

Review by Gabriël Botma published in Die Burger, 9 April 2001.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Die Toneelstuk by Rouxnette du Preez

One-act. Cast: mixed.

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