Press: Anna-Mart van der Merwe stars in SA premiere of acclaimed Florian Zeller play THE MOTHER

December 9, 2016


After a sell-out season of Florian Zeller's THE FATHER with Marius Weyers, Anna-Mart van der Merwe stars in the SA premiere of Zeller's companion pieceTHE MOTHER.


Florian Zeller's internationally acclaimed THE MOTHER, translated from French by Christopher Hampton, has its South African premiere at the Fugard Studio Theatre from 7 February 2017 and will run until 4 March 2017.


An Eric Abraham and Fugard Theatre production,THE MOTHER will be directed by Janice Honeyman with an allSouth African cast headed by Anna-Mart van der Merwe (The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, SewendeLaan, Die OngelooflikeAvonture van Hanna Hoekom) as Anne.  Graham Hopkins (Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Black Sails, Barney Barnato, A Reasonable Man), Sven Ruygrok (SPUD, Zulu, Of Kings and Prophets) and Amy Louise Wilson (The Father, Book of Negroes, The Year of the Bicycle) complete the cast in this moving portrait of a woman losing her grip on reality as her life spins out of control.


Anne loved that time in her life when she prepared breakfast each morning for her two young children, Sara and Nicholas. Now they have grown up and have lives and loves of their own. Spending hours alone, Anne's world falls in on her. Has her son Nicholas, always her favourite, really come back home? And what of her suspicions about her husband?

The premiere of THE MOTHER follows the critically acclaimed sell-out South African run of its companion pieceTHE FATHER starring Marius Weyers in November this year directed by Greg Karvellas.

Critical acclaim for the London production of THE MOTHER included:


“ … playwright Florian Zeller certainly knows how to mess with the audience’s wits”  ****

- The Guardian


“Highly recommended…  a play that stays with you, and after seeing it I held my five-year-old daughter particularly close and long when I tucked her into bed at the end of the evening.”

– The Telegraph


“Magnificent … a profoundly disorientating experience — mischievous, funny, sad and wise”. 

– Evening Standard


“ … desperately poignant” ***** 

- The London Stage


“The Mother is an extraordinary, poignant, and – as is Zeller’s style, often amusing - exploration of the mind of what happens when the anchors in our life start shifting” says Daniel Galloway, the Executive Director of The Fugard Theatre. “It is fitting to be presenting this as the companion piece to Zeller’s The Father which is currently being staged in our Fugard Studio.”


Anna-Mart van der Merwe is an award-winning bilingual actress, best known for her leading roles in numerous television series such as Sonkring, Torings, Konings, Sewende Laan and Binnelanders.Film credits include Katinka Heyns’ The Storie van Klara Viljee, Die Ongelooflike Avonture van Hanna Hoekom and Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux.


Her numerous theatre highlights include, OomWanja, Twaalfde Nag and Begeerte, directed by Janice Honeyman, and God of Carnage directed by Alan Swerdlow. She performed in The Market Theatre’s production of Athol Fugard’s People are Living There and most recently was cast in his new play The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek at the Fugard Studio which was co-directed by Athol Fugard and Paula Fourie.


Janice Honeyman is one of South Africa's most prolific directors whose work has toured internationally to great success. She has directed opera, pantomime, musicals, children’s productions, comedies and drama, and classic and contemporary works.


Dramas include John Kani’s plays, Nothing But The Truth, Missing, Madiba Magic and Oom Wanya /Uncle Vanja. Janice has directed many productionsof Athol Fugard's plays including Exits and Entrances, Booitjie and The Oubaas, Die Kaptein se Tier, translated by Antjie Krog, The Blue Iris and Hello and Goodbye with Sir Antony Sher and Estelle Kohler - at the invitation of the UK's Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Her critically acclaimed Baxter Theatre/RSC production of The Tempest with Sir Antony Sher and Dr JohnKani,was sold out in the UK.


Musicals include Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton’s world cup musical The Boys In The Photograph and Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express.Known as South Africa’s panto queen, Janice has directed Sinbad’s African Adventures,Sno’White and the Seven Dofs,Cinders and Her Fella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Peter Pan and most recently Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.  Honeyman became a household name in the 1970's when she presented the very first children’s television show Bangalory Time which she brought to the stage in Bangalory’s Back last year (2015).


Florian Zeller has been described as ‘the most exciting new theatre writer of our time’, by The London Guardian. He wrote his first novel at the age of 22, and recently and uniquely had three of his acclaimed plays – THE MOTHER, THE FATHER and THE TRUTH – running in London theatres at the same time. 


THE MOTHERwill run at the Fugard Studio Theatre, from 7 February until 4 March 2017 Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm with a 4pm matinee performance on Saturdays. The Fugard Theatre is situated in the heart of District Six, on the corner of Harrington and Caledon Streets, Cape Town. 


Tickets cost from R130 to R160 and can be booked through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at 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. 


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.      


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