Athol Fugard hot news

Fugard awarded honorary degree in Literature.  Fugard Theatre closes permanently.  A thesis on Blood Knot available online.

Please pass on details of any performances etc click here.  Last update 3 May 2021.


Fugard awarded honorary degree

Athol Fugard awarded honorary degree 

The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria has conferred the honorary doctorate (honoris causa) in Literature on Fugard.  The virtual ceremony took place on 30 April 2021.

“The Department of English extends its warmest congratulations to Athol Fugard on being awarded an honorary degree by the University of Pretoria,” said Prof David Medalie and Prof Molly Brown, Head of Department. “He is one of the world’s greatest living dramatists and has been a powerful chronicler, for more than six decades, of a wide range of South African experiences.”

“Fugard’s contribution is of inestimable importance to South African drama, literature and cultural life, and indeed to that of the entire English-speaking world,” added Prof Vasu Reddy, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. “His writing shows the influence of global philosophical traditions such as existentialism, but his penetrating explorations of wider issues of identity and meaning are always firmly rooted in the local. There is little doubt that Fugard’s standing is not just local, but global. Indeed, he stands tall among the greatest playwrights of the 20th century.”

More details are here.

Fugard Theatre closes permanently

Fugard Theatre

The Fugard Theatre has been closed for month because of the pandemic, but sadly is now closing permanently.

The theatre website states

"Dear Friends of The Fugard Theatre,  After a year of Covid closure it is with great regret and sadness that I have to confirm that The Fugard Theatre will close permanently with immediate effect.  We are not persuaded that it will be Covid safe or financially viable to reopen as a theatre in the foreseeable future."

Ismail Mahomed writes

"One of the most poignant lines ever to have been spoken on the stages of the theatre was by Athol Fugard. At its opening he said:
We are sitting on the laps of ghosts.
It was a fairly eerie thought but it meant more than just sitting on the laps of the ghosts of the people who lived in District Six.  We were sitting on the laps of Barney Simon, Ramaloa Makhene, Doris Sihula, Matsemela Manaka, Mavis Taylor, Lucille Gillwald and all those deceased artists who had used their creative voices to fight apartheid and censorship through theatre; and whose spirit had come to rejoice in the birth of a new post-apartheid mainstream, independent, free-thinking theatre." (The Conversation,18 Mar 2021, here).

Sad news.


Victory conversation on Zoom

The Provincetown Theatre

The Provincetown Theater and Capital Classics Theatre Company present a Zoom conversation with performance excerpts from Athol Fugard's one-act play, Victory on 27 Feb 2021.  This is streamed on Zoom and is free-of-charge.

Moderated by directors Jan Mason and Geoff Sheehan, the audience will discuss the play’s themes and their relevance and resemblance to our world today in between excerpts from the play as performed by artists from the Capital Classics Theatre Company.

Click here for details.


Playland online by Ujima

Playland Athol Fugard

Ujima Company present Playland from 29-21 Jan 2021.  Gerald Ramsey (below left) plays Martinus and Ben Caldwell plays Gideon.  The director is Phil Knoezer.

"1989, New Year’s Eve. A traveling amusement park. Two strangers meet in the dead of night in the heart of rural South Africa. With the country in the grips of the brutal apartheid regime, Playland promises an evening of thrills and laughter that never materializes.

This is a play about guilt, self-loathing, and the elusive nature of absolution in a racially divided world. Martinus Zoeloe, a black South African, the amusement park's night-watchman meets Gideon La Roux, a white Afrikaner and ex-serviceman who comes along looking for a fun night out. They find themselves face to face and their encounter is charged with history and danger."

More details are here.

Athol Fugard Playland

Master Harold... and the boys coming online Knot thesis

Syracuse Stage - click for link

Syracuse Stage, New York, will be streaming Master Harold... and the boys as part of their reimagined season.

Dates are not known yet.  More details are on the Syracuse Stage website here.


Blood Knot thesis

LeHigh University

A thesis "The evolution of Athol Fugard's The blood knot" is now available online at the website of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The MA thesis is by Kim Lauren McKay from 1987.

"The published script from the 1960's was not to be the last for The Blood Knot, however, and in the 1980's Fugard turned his attention again to this play. This new, shorter version succeeds without the early poetic stance and natural imagery; it relies instead on a more
forceful tone and a more clearly political message, both of which comment on the artist and his world "
.

You can read the thesis on the Lehigh Preserve website  here.

 

 

Fugard Theatre closed to late 2021

Fugard Theatre 

The Fugard Theatre website states “The Fugard Theatre & Bioscope will remain closed until we can be confident that staff, performers and audiences will not be at risk as a result of the availability of a vaccine or effective treatment for the Covid-19 virus. We do not envisage this to be until some point late next year (2021) at the earliest.”



Encyclopædia Britannica Web's Best Site

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopædia Britannica has listed this site as the Web's best site on Athol Fugard.  Thanks- click on the image for the encyclopædia.


 

Too late- see what you missed!!



People are Living There in South Africa

Fugard People are Living There 

A new performance of People are Living There in the Playhouse Theatre, Somerset West, South Africa. The director is Darryl Spijkers.

"[the play] focuses on four South African downtrodden white people living in the centre of Johannesburg. Fugard garnered material for the play when he and his wife stayed in lodgings in Braamfontein, when he was employed by the Johannesburg Native Commissioners courthouse.  Darryl Spijkers creates the realist design of this show with immense attention to detail. Rene Frylinck, Thomas Agates, Hugo Botha and Tanya Erasmus headline this four-hand comedy drama."

It is on from 3-10 Oct 2020.   For more details click here.


A Lesson from Aloes in London

Fugard A Lesson from Aloes 

Finborough Theatre present A Lesson from Aloes from 27 Feb- 23 Mar 2019.   The director is Janet Suzman and the actors are Dawid Minnaar (Piet), David Rubin (Steve) and Janine Ulfane (Gladys).

"In the small backyard of a house in a shabby Port Elizabeth suburb, pots of aloe – the desert plant that can thrive in the most barren soil – bear silent witness to a world where trust has been betrayed and destroyed.

South Africa in the 1960s. Apartheid is at its height. Mandela’s ANC has just been banned as a terrorist organisation. Informers are everywhere.

Left leaning Afrikaner Piet and his wife, Gladys, hold a party for their mixed-race friend Steve who has just been released from prison.   But when mistrust creeps into your own backyard, the closest of ties are undone. Who has betrayed this group of friends? And why is one of them on a one way ticket out of the country? "


Click on the image above for more details.


Blood Knot in London

Athol Fugard Blood Knot 

Orange Tree Theatre present Blood Knot from 8 Mar -20 Apr 2019.   Nathan McMullen plays Morrie and Kalungi Ssebandeke plays Zach.

The director is Matthew Xia with Basia Bińkowska (designer), Ciarán Cunningham (lighting Designer, Xana (sound designer & composer), Angela Gasparetto (movement director), Kevin McCurdy (fight director), Emma Woodvine (voice and dialect coach), Megan Rarity (costume supervisor) and Sophie Parrott CDG (casting consultant).

"It’s been a year since Morrie returned to Port Elizabeth to live with his brother Zach. They share childhood memories of their mother, yet have wildly contrasting life experiences due to their different fathers.

Morrie wants to take them away from their township shack, buy a small farm and make a new life. To take their minds off the struggle, they decide Zach needs a pen pal. But who should it be? An innocent game can quickly go wrong...

As things get complicated, the stakes rise: can they free themselves from the enduring prejudices provoked by the different shades of their skin?".


Click on the image above for more details.

John Kani's Kunene and the King in Stratord-upon-Avon, UK

John Kani Kunene and the King 

The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK present Fugard veteran John Kani's new play Kunene and the King.  Kani will be performing the play together with Antony Sher.  The director is Janice Honeyman.

"South Africa, 2019. Twenty-five years since the first post-apartheid democratic elections, two men from contrasting walks of life are thrust together to reflect on a quarter century of change."

Click on the image above for more details.


Encyclopædia Britannica Web's Best Site

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopædia Britannica has listed this site as the Web's best site on Athol Fugard.  Thanks- click on the image for the encyclopædia.


Sizwe Bansi one of the 40 plays to read before you die

The Independent 40 plays to see before you die

The Independent newspaper named the “40 best plays to read before you die”. Sizwe Bansi is Dead is one of the 40.

“Athol Fugard came to see that the righteous anger of didactic anti-apartheid drama was not as effective as the subversive laughter of the black townships when it came to getting across the harshness of the conditions there. Certainly, there is nothing moralising or solemn about this piece which was developed by Fugard from improvisations with the great John Kani and Winston Ntosha who first performed it. A mischievous shaggy dog story, it pulls the audience into an atmosphere of good-humoured sociability. Sizwe is a work-seeker in Port Elizabeth who can't get a job because he doesn't have a permit. It turns out that he has found a dead man's pass book and has substituted his own photo, killing off Sizwe Bansi. A deceptively light and humane play that outlasts the apartheid era.”

The list of playwrights ranges from Sophocles and Aeschylus, to Shakespeare and Middleton, to Ibsen, Chekhov, Wilde. In the twentieth century there are Coward, Pinter, Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Pirandello and most recently Sarah Kane, Lorraine Hansberry, Tony Kushner, Martin Sherman, Caryl Churchill and Jez Butterworth.

The article is here.


Statements after an arrest under the immorality act in Philidelphia

Fugard Statements 

Blue Mercury Theatre present Statements at Independence Library from 12-17 Sept 2017.   The director is Leigh E. Bicica and the actors are Brandon Pierce and Megan McDermott.

"Athol Fugard’s provocative play depicts the love affair between a black man and a white woman in apartheid South Africa. They share their deepest longings while battling the oppressive laws of society and their own unconscious prejudices. A cry for social change from a dangerous love that dares to defy all the rules."


Click on the image for more details.


The Island in London

Fugard The Island

The Theatre Chipping Norton and The Dukes Lancaster Present The Island at the Southwark Playhouse from 31 May- 24 Jun 2017.  The director is John Terry, design is by Samantha Dowson, movement by Diane Alison Mitchell and lighting by Alexandra Stafford. Actors Edward Dede and Mark Springer are stunningly good in the roles.


Click on the image for more details.  Very highly Recommended.




The Island in USA

Fugard The Island - click for link

Metro Stage present The Island from 26 Mar- 26 Apr 2015.  The director is Tom Jones.  Doug Brown plays Winston and Michael Anthony Williams plays John.

"The Island devised by Athol Fugard and actors John Kani and Winston Ntshona. Originally seen at MetroStage in 1991, The Island will also return in honor of our 30th anniversary. It depicts the psychological and physical abuse suffered by black political prisoners in South Africa, using the prisoners anticipated performance of the Greek drama Antigone as a symbolic means of political protest".

Click on the image for more details.


My Children! My Africa! in Hollywood, USA

MKy Children My Africa - click for link


My Children! My Africa! is on at the Crossley Theatre from 20 Mar- 3 May 2015. 

"In Athol Fugard’s tale of friendship and racial tension, a schoolmaster in a small South African township describes hope as “a dangerous animal.” Can he combine the talents of a black male student with a white female student on an educational journey in the midst of apartheid?"

The directed is Inger Tudor and the producer is Catherine Gray. The actors are Rodrick Jean-Charles, Aaron Jennings, Maurie Speed.

Click on the image for more details.



New book on Fugard

A new book on Fugard by Alan Shelley.  More details soon.

 

 

People Are Living There in South Africa

People Are Living There - Click for Link

The Market Theatre and the Windybrow Theatre present People Are Living There from 22 Apr- 24 May 2015.

The director is Andre Odendaal and the cast are Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Carel Nel, Dania Gelderblom and Francois Jacobs.  Lighting design is by Mannie Manim, set design by Nadya Cohen, costume design by Nthabiseng Makone and the stage manager is Thunyelwa Thambe. 

"This is one of only two Fugard plays that do not concern Apartheid or township life. Instead this psychological study written in 1968 focuses on four downtrodden white people living in the centre of Johannesburg. Fugard garnered material for the play when he and his wife stayed in lodgings in Braamfontein when he was employed by the Johannesburg Native Commissioners court house.

The four characters face tough times as people with no or little education, stuck in a small apartment with very little to do and nowhere much to go. Each started out with their own longings and desires, but their dreams have faded along with hope as the disappointment of life shapes them into people who no longer even recognise themselves. 

Milly, the main character and landlady, is celebrating her 50th birthday. She has recently been cast aside by her long-term lover and the hurt and loneliness cut deep. The other characters are the lodgers in her home, starting with Don, a young man whose pretentions at being the academic type are let down by his lack of drive and ambition. His fellow lodgers are a young couple, Shorty and Sissy. Shorty is a sweet but simple-minded man with a passion for boxing. He married 18-year-old Sissy after falling in love with her on their first meeting. But Sissy is restless and looking for something more, marrying Shorty only because she saw him as an opportunity to rise above her own dismal circumstances.

The stage is set for confrontation and rage as Fugard explores the sense of isolation and frustration that these characters feel and the sorry results if we sit around and just wait for life to happen."

Click on the image for more information.


The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek in New York, USA

The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek - click for link

Fugard's new play is on at The Signature Theatre, New York from 21 Apr- 7 Jun 2015.

Fugard directs and the actors are Bianca Amato, Leon Addison Brown, Caleb McLaughlin and Sahr Ngaujah.

"Aging farm laborer Nukain has spent his life transforming the rocks at Revolver Creek into a vibrant garden of painted flowers. Now, the final unpainted rock, as well as his young companion Bokkie, has forced Nukain to confront his legacy as a painter, a person and a black man in 1980s South Africa. When the landowner’s wife arrives with demands about the painting, the profound rifts of a country hurtling toward the end of apartheid are laid bare.

Athol Fugard, Signature’s 2012 Playwright-in-Residence and winner of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Tony Award, returns with a new play inspired by the life of outsider artist Nukain Mabusa."

Click on the image for more details.


My Children! My Africa! in London

My Children! My Africa! - click for link

Two Sheds Theatre present My Children! My Africa! at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London from 28 Apr- 16 May 2015.  The directors are Roger Mortimer and Deborah Edgington.  Nathan Ives-Moiba plays Thami, Rose Reynolds plays Emily and Anthony Ofoegbu plays Mr. M.

"South Africa, 1985 - the fourth decade of apartheid. Two opposing forces struggle for the soul of Thami, a young, brilliant black man. His teacher insists that education, even the inferior “Bantu” education he is forced to teach, is the way to liberation. But Thami has begun to listen to angrier voices...

'Should violence be met with violence? The play is actually about my internal debate, at the end of which I found myself believing that putting words on paper is a valid form of action. You can throw stones, petrol bombs and molotov cocktails as hard as you like at those armoured cars, but you’re not going to do much damage. Words can get inside those armoured cars. Words can get inside the heads of the people inside those armoured cars."

Click on the image for more details.  Highly Recommended.


Playland in Nottingham, UK

Playland - click for link

New Perspectives Theatre perform Playland at the Holloway’s Florence Nightingale Memorial Hall, Nottingham on 8 Mar 2015.

"With the country in the grips of a brutal apartheid regime, the park promises an evening of thrills and laughter.

Martinus, a black South African, is the amusement park’s night-watchman. Gideon, who is a white Afrikaner, and ex-serviceman, has come along for a good night out.

When they find themselves face to face, their encounter is charged with history and danger.

Athol Fugard is one of the world’s most performed living playwrights, renowned as being a fearless chronicler of South Africa and its troubled history. 

Playland is one of his most personal and yet rarely performed plays."

Click on the link for more details.


Sizwe Bansi and The Island in London

Fugard Sizwe Bansi - click for link

Sizwe Banzi is Dead: "How can I live as another man's ghost? 

It’s 1972 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and his passbook gives him just three days to find work. No work and he’ll be deported. That was four days ago.

So when Sizwe stumbles across a dead body with a passbook, he asks himself – does his identity card really define who he is? Can he give up his family and his name in order to survive?"

Directed by Matthew Xia, design by Hyemi Shin and Richard Hammarton, light by Ciaran Cunningham.


The Island, Fugard - click for link

The Island: "John and Winston are cellmates.   One may soon be released; one serves a life sentence, but for now they are both prisoners. As they prepare to perform Antigone for the rest of the prison, the two friends begin to see themselves in the characters, exposing the tensions in their friendship and the oppression around them.

Directed by Alex Brown, producer Claire Turner, design Holly Pigott and light Richard Howell.

The two plays are at the Young Vic in London.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead is on from 18- 28 Sept 2013.
The Island is on from 7-30 Nov 2013.

Click on the images for more information.


Fugard in discussion with Jez Butterworth and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Fugard in conversation - click for link

Fugard in conversation with playwrights Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) and Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Her Naked Skin) at the Simpkins Lee Lecture Theatre, Oxford, UK.  Click on the image to watch the video.


Master Harold film coming on DVD

Master Harold and the Boys  Master Harold & and the Boys

The new film of 'Master Harold' and the boys is directed by Lonny Price.  Hally is played by Freddie Highmore and Sam by Ving Rhames, Willie by Patrick Mofokeng and Bully by Justin Stein.

The film is now available from Amazon USA here.  It is available on DVD or Blue-ray.  Thanks to Giacomo from the forum for the information.



Have You Seen Us, new play

Frank Rizzo reports that Fugard is working on a rewrite for his latest play, Have You Seen Us, "his first play set in the USA in a coffee shop in a small shopping mall in Southern California.  A second reading is planned at the home of Sam Waterston, directed by Gordon Edelstein, artistic director of Long Wharf theatre who staged the premiere of Fugard's Coming Home at his New Haven theater in January".  The link is here

http://blogs.courant.com/curtain/2009/03/fugard-reworking-new-us-play.html


New book on Fugard

A new book on Fugard by Alan Shelley.  More details soon.

Master Harold... and the Boys in Seattle, USA

Master Harold and the boys - click for link

West of Lenin present Master Harold... and the boys.

"A landmark play... set in 1950's apartheid South Africa. A universal coming-of-age story about a seventeen-year-old white boy, who has grown up with two black servants in his mother's tea shop, forms into a compelling drama... it is now acknowledged as a classic of the stage, whose themes of injustice, racism, friendship and reconciliation traverse borders and time."

The actors are James Lindsay ( Hally), G.Val Thomas ( Sam) and Kevin Warren ( Willie).

It is on from 28 Mar- 21 Apr 2013 at West of Lenin in Seattle, USA.  Click on the image for more details.


My Children My Africa in NY, USA

My Children My Africa - click for link

Theatre Arts present a workshop production of My Children! My Africa

“My Children! My Africa!” tells the story of Mr. M, an idealistic teacher in South Africa in 1984, who seeks to provide a future for his student Thami by forming a debate team with Isabel, a brave student from the local white school. But outside the classroom Mr. M’s hopes for Thami are challenged by their generational divide and increasing political turmoil. 

The director is Cynthia Henderson and the cast includes Ashton Muniz, Jelani Pitcher, Sarah Morrisette, Cora Joe Anderson, and Ray Zanders.  The assistant director is Colby Senior, ad further credits are dramaturg Rocco Praderio, lighting/sound designer E-hui Woo, freelance costume designer Heidi Hermiller, production liaison Eric Rothstein, production assistant Danica Kelley, assistant stage manger Kelsey Dunne, and stage manager Travis Coxson.

It is on 13- 14 Apr 2013  in the Earl McCarroll Studio Theatre (Studio 2) in Dillingham Center, Ithica, NY.  Tickets are free but reservations are required- click on the image for more details.


Performance times are 2:00pm and 8:00pm on Saturday, April 13th, and 2:00pm and 8:00pm on Sunday, April 14th. All performances will be held.

The Road to Mecca in Milwaukee, USA

The Road to Mecca- click for link

Renaissance Theaterworks present The Road to Mecca.

The director is Suzan Fete and the cast are Linda Stephens (Helen), Bri Sudia (Elsa) and Jonathan Gillard Daly (Marius).  The Production Team are Julie Swenson (Producer), Brandy Kline (Stage Manager), Lisa Schlenker (Set Design), R.H. Graham (Lighting Design), Holly Payne (Costume Design), Paul Hurley (Sound Design), Nikki Kulas and Jen Lyons (Prop Design), Raeleen McMillion (Dialect Coach), Katie Martin (Visual Artist and 1000+ owl making), Brandon Kirkham (Sculptures), Anthony Lyons (Technical Director), Kat Wodtke (Deck Chief), Darcy Devens (Backstage/Wardrobe).

I like a play where "owl making" is part of the credits.

It is on at The Studio Theatre, Milwaukee from 5- 28 Apr 2013.  Click on the image for more details.

Fugard festival in Namibia

Playland, Sizwe Bansi is Dead and Hello and Goodbye will all be performed as part of the annual festival of Committed Artists of Namibia.


Master Harold... and the Boys in Sacramento, USA

Master Harold by Fugard- click for link

Sacramento Theatre Company present Master Harold... and the boys.

The cast are Michael J. Asberry (Sam), Rob Anthony Gray (Willie) and Will Block (Hally).  The director is Buddy Butler.

It is on from 27 Mar- 5 May 2013.  Click on the image for more details.


Blood Knot in New York, USA

Signature Theatre Company present Blood Knot, directed by Fugard.  The actors are Colman Domingo (Zachariah) and Scott Shepherd (Morris).

"Between patchwork walls in a one-room shack, two biracial South African brothers grapple with crippling poverty and lonely isolation. Morris, the punctilious force that keeps their room tidy, is light-skinned enough to pass for white, but dark-skinned Zach feels imprisoned by his job at a whites-only park. When they find themselves on some dangerous new ground, the brothers must come face to face with the blood knot between them."

Set design is by Christopher H. Barreca, costume design by Susan Hilferty. lighting by Stephen Strawbridge, sound by Brett Jarvis.  The dialect coach is Barbara Rubin, props by Sarah Bird, production stage manager is Pamela Salling and assistant stage manager is Maggie Swing.


New play in Afrikaans

Athol Fugard - click for link

During a talk with students on 7 Nov 2011 at the Stellenbosch University Fugard stated he was writing his first play in Afrikaans.  Click on the image for more details.



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