Playing with Fire

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Playing with Fire (original Swedish title Leka med elden) is a one act play by August Strindberg (1849-1912)

The original text

Written in 1892, the short play it tells of an artist's wife who nearly goes off with his best friend. It was one of three plays written when Strindberg's first marriage was in the process of breaking up. All three works are fuelled by sexual tension and typify Strindberg's enduring theme: the constant and consuming battle for power between the sexes. The Father (1887) is one of the and Lady Julie (1888) would go on to become materpieces of 20th century theatre. Playing With Fire (1892), written when the couple were battling in court over the custody of their children, is less widely known, but also a gem of a one-act play.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans as Wie Met Vuur Speel for the radio by S.J. Pretorius, adapted for the stage by Herman Pretorius.

Performance history in South Africa

1967/8? A production of the English text was done by the Drama Department of the University of the Orange Free State, directed by Marlene Kotzen with Schalk Jacobsz, Temple Hauptfleisch, Hudson Earp and two female students.

1983: A production of the English text was done by the Baxter Theatre in association with Minotaurus, directed by Dieter Reible, starring Chris van Niekerk, Mitzi Booysen, Michael Drin, Megan Kruskal, Marthinus Basson. The first performance in the Baxter Studio was on 13 April 1983.

1986: Wie Met Vuur Speel was presented by Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the H.B. Thom Theatre in September 1986, directed by Juanita Swanepoel with drama stuudents. Decor by Emile Aucamp, costumes by Elaine Aucamp.


Recollections of Temple Hauptfleisch

Barrow, Brian & Williams-Short, Yvonne (eds.). 1988. Theatre Alive! The Baxter Story 1977-1987.

Playing with Fire theatre programme, 1983.

World Drama by Allardyce Nicoll. Harrap, 1949.

UTS theatre programme

Return to

Return to P in Plays II Foreign Plays

Return to South_African_Theatre/Plays

Return to The ESAT Entries