The Broken Jug



  • A one-act comedy by the eccentric German dramatist Heinrichvon Kleist. He finished the play in 1805, during a sojournin Switzerland, where he had intended to become a farmer. The BrokenJug was a failure when first produced in 1808 by Goethe at theWeimar Court Theatre but is now regarded as one of the greatest comicworks in the German language. It has been seen in English in a shortenedversion and there is also a version in Scots titled The ChippitChantie.

    The story centres on Adam, a rogueish village magistrate whosedisregard for truth is comparable to Falstaff's. To his great concern,he suddenly finds himself presiding over the trial of an innocentman accused of a crime that he himself committed. In 1958 Sir DonaldWolfit directed and played the leading role at the LyceumTheatre, Edinburgh, opposite George Curzon as a visiting councillor.Wolfit was known both for his penny-pinching and his horror of beingupstaged. At one point during the run the actress Nan Munro, playinga witness, began to eat an apple during some of Wolfit's best lines.The next day he told his stage manager not to buy any more apples:"Cut them. I'm not paying three and six a week for her to go'Chwap-Chwap' and kill my laughs!"