Press release: Starry cast for Athol Fugard’s masterpiece Master Harold … and the boys

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A star-studded cast has been announced for a new Fugard Theatre production of Athol Fugard’s masterpiece “Master Harold”… and the boys which marks the start of the Fugard Theatre’s 2020 season and tenth birthday year. (The Fugard was born on 12 February 2010.)

Presented by Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre “Master Harold”… and the boys will run in the Fugard Studio Theatre from 4 February 2020. The production will be directed by the Fugard Theatre’s Artistic Director Greg Karvellas (The Road to MeccaThe FatherShakespeare in LoveClybourne Park, Bad Jews, Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act).

Left to right: Kai Luke Brummer, Desmond Dube and Siya Mayola will star in “Master Harold”… and the boys at the Fugard Theatre from 4 February 2020.

Bookings, which are now open, can be made through The Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or through The Fugard Theatre’s website at www.thefugard.com

The cast features Kai Luke Brummer as Hally, Desmond Dube as Sam and Siya Mayola as Willy.

Brummer is the lead  in Oliver Hermanus’ new film Moffie which was invited to the Venice and London International Film Festivals and has been critically acclaimed across Europe. Moffie goes on general release in South Africa on 13 March 2020 with a premiere at The Fugard Theatre.

Dube is a much-loved actor and presenter on TV and film. He was last seen on the Fugard Theatre stage in the multiple award-winning musical King Kong, which earned him a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. He also performed in I see you, a co-production with The Royal Court (London) and Market Theatre (Johannesburg), for which he won a Naledi Theatre Award for Best Actor and was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Theatre award. 

Mayola is a writer, director and producer with his own production company. He is a seasoned film and theatre actor, and has appeared in series such as SABC TV’s drama series, AMAZA, Mzanzi Magic’s ISIKIZI and kykNET’s Sara se geheim.

“Master Harold” … and the boys is written by Athol Fugard and directed by Greg Karvellas. Set design and lighting design is by Wolf Britz, who recently received a Fiesta award nomination for his work on Statements after an arrest under the immorality act. Costume design is by Widaad Albertus (Langarm, Happy New Year, Significant Other).

Set in a tea room in Port Elizabeth on a dreary, wet afternoon in 1950, “Master Harold” … and the boys is a poignant coming of age story and exploration of a friendship between a young white boy (Hally), and the two adult black men he has grown up around (Sam and Willy), against the backdrop of the oppressive, divisive apartheid laws of the time. Although society dictates their education are worlds apart, Sam has helped guide Hally from boy to manhood, educating him about the realities and injustices of the world, while Hally in turn teaches Sam what he has learnt at school.

Their friendship has taken on an almost fatherly role for Hally, as he struggles with the strained relationship with his alcoholic father.  During their debates and reminiscing on the rainy afternoon, Sam and Willy talk about their dreams of winning a ball room competition – their “world without collisions” – a metaphor for their aspirations and yearning to create a better life for themselves. The peace is broken with the news Hally’s drunken father is returning home, unleashing an anger in Hally that leads to an unprecedented bigoted outburst.

“Master Harold” … and the boys is a compelling and masterful examination of the frailty of the human condition and how societal injustices force people into their prescribed roles.

“‘Master Harold’ … and the boys is a fitting start to our 2020 season and tenth birthday year to honour South Africa’s theatre giant and most accomplished playwright, Athol Fugard,” says Daniel Galloway, managing director of the Fugard Theatre. “For more than five decades, his work has united diverse audiences, spoken out against the injustices of apartheid and underlined the common humanity we share. We are honoured to bear his name and celebrate his legacy through the continued presentation of his work as well as providing a platform for South African writers, directors and performers.”

“Master Harold” … and the boys will be performed in The Fugard Studio Theatre from on Tuesday to Saturdays at 20:00 with matinees on Saturday and Sundays at 15:00.

Tickets from R180 to R250 can be booked through The Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or through The Fugard Theatre’s website at www.thefugard.com

There is a 20% discount available for the Friends of The Fugard members for selected performances. These discounted tickets can be booked through the Fugard Theatre box office. Not yet a Friends of the Fugard member? Sign up now at the box office or online for priority booking and great specials!

Please note: Latecomers will not be admitted after the start of the performance. Access to The Studio Theatre is via two flights of stairs, if assistance is required kindly enquire at the box office.

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Athol Fugard

Athol Fugard was born in 1932 in Middelburg in the Karoo. An internationally acclaimed playwright director and occasional actor, for over half a century he has written almost forty soul-searing plays with roles for all South Africans which have moved audiences in South Africa and around the world to laughter and tears as they reflected the inhumanity of apartheid. His plays champion truth and a fundamental universal humanity.

In 2011 he received the ultimate recognition from the world’s most prestigious theatre community –  a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre. He is also the author of four books and several screenplays. His plays include Blood KnotBoesman and Lena, “Master Harold” and the boysThe Train Driver, The Blue Iris and The Shadow of the Hummingbird. A number of his works have been turned into films with director Gavin Hood's Tsotsi, based on his 1980 short story of the same name winning the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film – South Africa's first Academy award in this category.

Athol’s work spans the period of apartheid in South Africa, through the first democratic elections, to Nelson Mandela’s presidency and into present-day, post-apartheid South Africa. 

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