Reza de Wet's channelling of the long nineteenth century on post-1994 South African stages

Stander, Daniel Botha (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis focuses on Reza de Wet's channelling of the long nineteenth century on post-1994 stages. I conceptualise her adaptation and appropriation of nineteenth-century British and European literature as well as her performance of colonial history as a theatrical séance by which she revives the past to comment on contemporary white South African cultural identity. The Gothic, which is a central element of De Wet's work, informs my conceptual lens alongside two theoretical notions engaged with nineteenth-century rewrites: the neo-Chekhovian and the neo-Victorian. I use “neo-Chekhovian” to describe De Wet's transformation of Anton Chekhov's plays, The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1897), Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904) in A Russian Trilogy (Three Sisters Two, Yelena and On the Lake). I draw on specifically neo-Victorian notions such as revision and biofiction to analyse her reworking of Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights (1847) into the unpublished play Heathcliff Goes Home. Lastly, I refer to theatre theorist Freddy Rokem's notion of performing history to discuss De Wet's neo-Victorian dramatisation of British colonial history in A Worm in the Bud and Two Plays: Fever and Concealment. The neo-Victorian is a relatively new field in South Africa and the theatre theoretical dimension thereof is still under-explored. My analysis of De Wet's work within this intellectual context will branch out its inquiries to contemporary South African theatre studies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis fokus op Reza de Wet se “oproep” van die lang negentiende eeu op post-1994 verhoë. Ek konseptualiseer haar verwerking en aanpassing van negentiende-eeuse Britse en Engelse letterkunde so wel as haar vertolking van koloniale geskiedenis, as 'n teatrale séance wat die opwekking van die verlede behels ten einde kommentaar te lewer op kontemporêre wit Suid-Afrikaanse kulturele identiteit. Die Gotiese, wat 'n sentrale element is van De Wet se werk, voed my konseptuele lens en ek bring dit in verband met twee teoretiese begrippe wat gemoeid is met die herskrywing van negentiende-eeuse tekste: die neo-Chekhoviaanse en die neo-Victoriaanse. Ek “gebruik” die term “neo-Chekhoviaans” ten einde De Wet se transformasie van Anton Chekhov se dramas, Die Seemeeu (1896), Oom Wanja (1897), Drie Susters (1901) and Die Kersieboord (1904), in A Russian Trilogy (Three Sisters Two, Yelena and On the Lake) te ontleed. Ek ontleen ook van spesifieke neo-Victoriaanse begrippe “revision” en “biofiksie” om haar verwerking van Emily Brontë se roman Wuthering Heights (1847) in haar ongepubliseerde drama, Heathcliff Goes Home, te analiseer. Laastens verwys ek na teater teoretikus, Freddy Rokem, se konsep, “performing history” om De Wet se neo-Victoriaanse dramatisering van Britse koloniale geskiedenis te bespreek in A Worm in the Bud en Two Plays: Fever and Concealment. Die neo-Victoriaanse is a relatief nuwe veld in Suid-Afrika en die teater-teoretiese dimensie daarvan is nog onderontgin. My analise van De Wet se werk binne hierdie intellektuele konteks sal dit uitbrei tot ondersoeke in kontemporêre Suid-Afrikaanse teater studies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98824
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