The Climax

Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Climax is a play in three acts by Edward Locke (1869-1945)[1], with incidental music by Joseph Carl Breil (1870 - 1926)[2].

Note on authorship

For some reason this play has occasionally been wrongly ascribed by writers in South Africa, e.g. to Clifford Bax (1886-1962)[3] in at least one instance and, according to a list of productions by Huguenet in the Oedipus Rex theatre programme (1956), to the French playwright Paul Géraldy (1885-1983)[4].

The original text

The play premiered on 12 April 1909, at Joseph W. Weber's Music Hall, New York City.[5] Revived at Weber's Music Hall, New York in May 1910.

Performed in Australia by the Florence Young Company in 1914.

The sheet music for the incidental music by Joseph Carl Breil was published as Song of the Soul: From the Incidental Music to Edward Locke's Drama "The Climax"on by Chappell & Co., Ltd., New York in 1909.

Translations and adaptations

A novelization of the play seems to have been done by George C. Jenks in 1909 under the title The Climax: From The Celebrated Play Of The Same Name By Edward Locke.

What may have been a slightly adapted version was produced at the Bijou Theatre, New York, in 1933, opening on 13 June, now billed with further additional music by Rachmaninov.[6]

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Nagtegaal ("The Nightingale") in 1940s by an unnamed author (possibly the producer/director André Huguenet himself, who did suggest the altered title), though with no reference to the original author.

Filmed in in 1930 and again in 1944. The latter film, a horror movie produced by Universal Pictures and first released in the United States in 1944, is claimed by the producers to have been based on the play, but there is only a tenuous relationship between the play and the film.

Performance history in South Africa

1940: Produced in Afrikaans as Die Nagtegaal by André Huguenet, with a predominantly male cast consisting of Huguenet himself, Johan Nell, Fanie Bekker and Antonius Ferreira, plus a very young Sandra van der Merwe as "the voice" of the nightingale. They opened in the Standard Theatre, Johannesburg then toured the country. In his reminiscences Huguenet tells of the disastrous opening night in Johannesburg, when van der Merwe lost her voice, and in an impromptu arrangement Rita, (the other soprano who had auditioned for the role at the time) had to sing the song from behind the curtain, while the actress cast as "the nightingale" mimed on stage. After few days Sandra van der Merwe's voice returned and the show could go on to acclaim.


Joseph Carl Breil. 1909. Song of the Soul: From the Incidental Music to Edward Locke's Drama "The Climax". Chappell & Co., Ltd., New York.

Huguenet, André 1950a. Applous! Die Kronieke van 'n Toneelspeler. Kaapstad: HAUM: pp. 209-213.

Filma (Kultuur), January 1946. 18.

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