Due to popular demand, three matinee performances have been added to the season of The Shadow of the Hummingbird that sees South African playwright and theatre icon Athol Fugard take to the stage for the first time in 15 years. The production will be presented by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre from 10 to 26 July 2014.
Following his recent South African premieres at the Fugard Theatre, including The Train Driver (2010), The Bird Watchers (2011), The Blue Iris (2012) and Die Laaste Karretjiegraf (2012), and the World premieres of the Afrikaans productions of Die Kaptein se Tier (2011) and Playland (2014), Fugard returns to the stage in his 82nd year to continue his relationship with the Cape Town theatre that bears his name.
Fugard plays opposite Marviantos Baker in this intimate, delicate two-hander. Besides Fugard, the artistic team includes Fourie (co-director), Mannie Manim (lighting), Saul Radomsky (sets & costume) and James Webb (Sound).
In The Shadow of the Hummingbird, Fugard takes on the role of Oupa, a retired South African teacher living in self-imposed exile in Southern California, and is joined onstage by Baker, playing his grandson, Boba. During the course of one afternoon spent together, Oupa and Boba leap across a generational divide to teach and be taught, and to be reminded that the transient beauty of the world is seen too briefly through unassuming eyes.
Inspired by Fugard’s relationship with his own grandson, Gavyn, this intimate play has deep autobiographical roots. The overlapping boundaries between autobiography and fictional storytelling are further explored in Fourie’s introductory scene, which, with recourse to Fugard’s notebooks, places extracts from his personal observations of the past 50 years into his character, Oupa’s, mouth. “People have begun to ask in the past couple of years whether my storytelling has shifted from the political to the personal”, Fugard muses. “My answer has always been – once you reach 80, the time has arrived for a little bit of housecleaning. After all, as Oupa says at the start of the play, ‘The final landscape is within.’” Yet Fugard maintains that he has never been a political playwright: “All my plays tell South African stories about people in their specific time and place. That has not changed.”
The Shadow of the Hummingbird runs at the Fugard Studio Theatre for a limited season from 10 July to 26 July, before moving to Johannesburg’s Market Theatre and Bloemfontein’s PACOFS. Performances run nightly at 8pm and the three matinee performances are 12,19 and 26 July at 4pm. Tickets at the Fugard Theatre range from R110 to R150 are available via computicket or the Theatre’s box office on 021 461 4554.