The Sign of the Cross

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The Sign of the Cross is a play by Wilson Barrett.

The original text

Thelma Gutsche referred to this play as one of Leonard Rayne's greatest successes.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Teken van die Kruis and produced by Jean Plaat-Stultjes in 1930.

Performance history in South Africa

1898: First performed in South Africa on 23 June by W.J. Holloway and his company, playing in Cape Town for 4 weeks.

1901: According to D.C. Boonzaier (1923), The Holloway Theatre Company performed Quo Vadis in Cape Town, but since Boonzaier says that "(o)nly the vaguest recollection remains with me of Mr Holloway's Quo Vadis", it is quite probably that the play performed in this case was in fact The Sign of the Cross. Interestingly, F.C.L. Bosman (1980) adds an intriguing note to this when he ascribes the play to "S. Strange", but then adds "Adapted from H. Sienkiewicz's novel by W. Barrett" in a footnote on p 408 of his history.

1902: Performed by Wilson Barrett and his company at the Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town, under the management of The Wheeler Company as part of a short season that also included The Silver King (Barrett) and The Manxman (Caine). The cast of the play included Wilson Barrett and Ambrose Manning.

19**: Performed by Leonard Rayne and his company. Thelma Gutsche referred to this play as one of Leonard Rayne's greatest successes.

1930: Performed in Afrikaans as Die Teken van die Kruis by Jean Plaat-Stultjes and his company in 1930.


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.

Thelma Gutsche 1940c. "Cut out the cackle". The South African Theatre, Music and Dance, 1(2):14-15.

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