Eric Abraham presents this Fugard Theatre production of The Road to Mecca, in honour of iconic playwright Athol Fugard’s 85th year. The play will open at the Fugard Theatre on 27 March 2018, on World Theatre Day, and run for a limited season.
Inspired by Helen Martins, who lived in Nieu-Bethesda and created the now-famous The Owl House – which is designated a provincial heritage site – THE ROAD TO MECCA is the story of a woman’s desire for personal and artistic freedom within the narrow confines of a conservative and highly religious community in the Karoo in early seventies apartheid South Africa.
This production also propitiously marks 120 years since Helen Martins’ birth on 23 December 1897.
Athol Fugard wrote this play in 1984, creating the lead role of Miss Helen for the late South African theatre star Yvonne Bryceland.
“We could think of no better way to mark Athol’s 85th birthday year in South Africa than with the Fugard Theatre’s first production of The Road to Mecca with an extraordinary South African cast – theatre icons Sandra Prinsloo, Marius Weyers and the brilliant young Emily Child” says Eric Abraham – Founding Producer of the Fugard Theatre.
Time Magazine regards Fugard as “the greatest active playwright in the English-speaking world”.
Background to The Road to Mecca
Legendary theatre critic Frank Rich writing in The New York Times about THE ROAD TO MECCA, commented “Road to Mecca examines the core of artistry… Artists are driven to forge their version of the truth even when they have no hope of an audience, even when they must work with the most humble of materials in the middle of nowhere. Artists are dangerous because they won’t deviate from that truth, no matter what pressure to conform is applied by the society around them, reminding us that the artistic conscience is inseparable from the moral conscience.”
“Athol Fugard has committed his career and life to restoring our sense of a common humanity. To masterfully pricking our consciences to the injustices of apartheid, inequality and the inadequacies of the new dispensation. His deeply rooted South African narratives resonate universally. A unique figure who was the first to create roles for all South Africans – especially for black actors. His narratives and indelible black characters profoundly changed the way millions of people world over viewed apartheid. Our theatre is proud to bear his name and strive to continue his legacy as a crucible of creativity and common humanity for all South Africans.”
The Road to Mecca Production
Sandra Prinsloo is Miss Helen (Moedertaal, Die Naaimasjien, So Ry Miss Daisy, Oskar en die Pienk Tannie, The Gods Must Be Crazy, Miss Julie), Marius Weyers is Rev. Marius Byleveld (The Fugard’s The Father, Oom Wanja / Uncle Vanya, Hamlet, Twee Grade van Moord, The Gods Must Be Crazy) and Emily Child is Elsa Barlow (The Fugard’s The Eulogists, The Pervert Laura, The Father).
Direction will be by the Fugard Theatre’s Resident Director Greg Karvellas (The Fugard’s Shakespeare in Love,The Eulogists, Clybourne Park, The Father, Bad Jews). The production will be designed by Saul Radomsky (The Fugard’s Bad Jews, Clybourne Park, District Six, Kanala, The Painted Rocks At Revolver Creek) with lighting by Mannie Manim (The Fugard’s The Mother, The Painted Rocks At Revolver Creek, The Blue Iris) and costumes by Birrie Le Roux (The Fugard’s West Side Story, Kanala, The Father, The Mother, Clybourne Park, King Kong). Sound design will be by the Fugard’s resident Musical Director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (The Fugard’s King Kong, West Side Story, The Rocky Horror Show, Cabaret, Funny Girl).
WHAT: THE ROAD TO MECCA WHERE: Fugard Theatre, Caledon Street, District Six, Cape Town 8001 WHEN: 27 March 2018 Tuesday to Saturdays at 8pm with a 4pm matinee on Saturdays.
TICKETS: R130 to R230. Bookings can be made through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. Bookings can also be made at the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554. There is a generous 15% discount available for the Friends of the Fugard members.
PHOTO: Emily Child, Sandra Prinsloo and Marius Weyers
Harrington Street car park is located at the corner of Caledon and Harrington streets and is available for the use of theatre patrons. Visit the cosy ground-floor bar, which opens two hours before all scheduled show times and stays open until last rounds are called… often as late as 1am. And if the weather is fine the bar on the fantastic rooftop terrace is opened, with its panoramic views of the city. Both bars offer a range of wines from some of the Cape’s top estates.