Scene It: Vivid impressions of life and the psyche in Athol Fugard’s People are living there at Galloway Theatre

October 29, 2015

When theatre performances impress you and make you crave for more, you know it’s been a good theatre night out. Such is the case with Athol Fugard’s People are living there, currently running at the Galloway Theatre in Cape Town.

 

In this adaptation, directors Blyther Linger and Kathleen Stephens explore the struggles of a 50 year old woman, named Milly (portrayed by Imke du Toit). Like a slowly decaying house held together by thin threads of memory, Milly cannot come to terms with a secret that she struggles to face; an internal struggle with the ‘loss of time’. Joining her in her quest for are her boarders Shorty (Almar Muller), Don (Kiroshan Naidoo) and Sissy (Danielle Botha). The question here is are they real or just a figment of her imagination?

 

I was quite annoyed that this show was part of the early morning Cape Town Fringe schedule and I had to miss it because of the day job, so I was super excited to catch this run this time around and I am so glad I did.

 

People are living there is your classic Fugard fare – a convoluted, emotional-gutting theatrical piece that demands to be seen and if not understood at first viewing, to be seen again and again to appreciate its depth and beauty.

 

Every single performance of the small cast resonates with you long after you’ve left the theatre and kudos must be given to the directors for eliciting this high standard from their actors.  As Milly, du Toit at times left me breathless with the sheer ferocity of her emotional turmoil while Naidoo in his dual role as the ambition-less student Don and the carefully controlled therapist commands the stage beautifully.

 

Muller, who first had me in tears at As Alles Blou Is at Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre last week, once again dazzles as Shorty, the dim-witted but beautiful to look at postman/boxer in training Shorty who is being henpecked by his emotionally abusive wife Sissy (Botha).

 

The stark set design reminds the audience that though there are plenty of comical moments within the play, the issues of delusion, deterioration, power struggles and hope explored here are real and we must stay grounded.

 

Moving, vivid impressions of life and its harsh realities from a stellar, talented cast makes People are living here one of my theatre must-sees. Go see it!

 

People are living there runs at the Galloway Theatre until Saturday 31 October, 2015. Tickets are R R110 (R120 at the Box Office) and are available at www.waterfronttheatreschool.co.za/booknow.

 

 

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