The Visit


The Visit is a popular production to attend for German language students, as it is considered one of the keystones of twentieth century German-language literature. The play is also often used as a text for those taking German as a foreign language.

The original 1956 play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt was adapted for American audiences by Maurice Valency; this version features a number of significant alterations. Its first Broadway theatre production, in 1958, was directed by Peter Brook and starred Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.[2]

The play was adapted as an opera libretto by the author and set to music by composer Gottfried von Einem, entitled Der Besuch der alten Dame and translated as The Visit of the Old Lady, and was first performed in 1971.

In 1976 The Visit was adapted for Lebanese National Television "Tele Liban" (the only broadcasting station in Lebanon at that time) as the full sixth episode of the hit TV series "Allo Hayeti ألو حياتي" directed for TV by Antoine Remi أنطوان ريمي, and Starring Hind Abi Al Lamaa هند أبي اللمع as Claire (or Clara as called in the Lebanese production) and Abdel Majeed Majzoob عبد المجيد مجذوب as her lover Alfred, Layla Karam, Philip Akiki (as the Mayor) and Elias Rizk (as the teacher). This production made Friedrich Dürrenmatt known to the Lebanese public as well as to Arabic viewers.

Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn starred in a much-altered film adaptation, also called The Visit, directed by Bernhard Wicki, in 1964. A significant alteration is in the ending. Just as Alfred Ill (Serge Miller in the movie) is about to be executed on the trumped-up charges the town has created, the billionairess stops the execution. She declares that she will give the money to the town as pledged. Her revenge on Miller is that now, as she declares, he must live in the town amongst the people who would have executed him on false charges for money.

In 1988 a TV movie titled Bring Me the Head Of Dobie Gillis was a version of The Visit adapted to the characters and world of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

In 1989 a TV movie titled Визит дамы (The Visit of the Lady) was created in the Mosfilm studio (Russia, at that time the USSR)

Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty's film Hyènes, from 1992, is based on the play.

The Visit was performed at Chichester Arts Festival of 1995.[3] Players included Lauren Bacall and Joss Ackland.

A fairly faithful musical The Visit, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Terrence McNally, received its first production at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, starring Chita Rivera and John McMartin in 2001. That production was choreographed by Ann Reinking and directed by Frank Galati. The musical was revised and played from May 13-June 22, 2008, at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, in a production once again starring Rivera, this time with George Hearn. It received glowing reviews from the critics. In 2015, Chita Rivera and Roger Rees brought this adaptation of The Visit to Broadway when it began preview performances on March 26, 2015 at the Lyceum Theatre under the Tony Award-winning direction of John Doyle (Sweeney Todd, Company). It opened on April 23, 2015 and closed on June 14, 2015. The 95-minute production debuted in the summer of 2014 at the Williamstown Theater Festival, with choreography by Broadway veteran Graciela Daniele (The Rink, Ragtime).

The Chilean telenovela Romané loosely use some elements of the plot in the script. It gives the story a slightly happier ending, though; the main characters aren't fully reconciled, but they manage to sort out their differences before Jovanka, the Claire equivalent, leaves the town.

The Visit of the Old Lady (Vana daami viisit, 2006) is a faithful, dark adaption for TV from Estonian theatrical veterans Roman Baskin (director), Ita Ever (Claire) and Aarne Üskula (Ill). Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, substitutes for Guellen.

A Russian language production, directed by Alexander Morfov, has been running in the repertoire of the Lenkom Theatre in Moscow since 2008.

An adaptation entitled Miss Meena was performed in 2010 by Perch in Bengaluru.[4]

A second musical adaptation, starring Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger, premièred at the Thun musical festival in Switzerland in the summer of 2013. It opens, with the same two leads, at the Ronacher Theatre, Vienna, in February 2014.

Indian playwright Madhu Rye adapted the play as Sharat in the Gujarati language.

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