The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard: From South Africa to the World

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Indiana University Press, Jan 1, 2000 - Drama - 273 pages
Considered one of the most brilliant, powerful, and theatrically astute of modern dramatists, South African playwright Athol Fugard is best known for The Blood Knot, Boesman and Lena, "MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the boys, A Lesson from Aloes, Hello and Goodbye, Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, The Island, and Valley Song. Much of the energy and poignancy of Fugard's work have their origins in the institutionalised racism of his native South Africa, and more recently in the issues facing a new South Africa after apartheid. In From South Africa to the World: The Plays of Athol Fugard, Albert Wertheim analyses the form and content of Fugard's dramas, showing that they are more than a dramatic chronicle of South African life and racial problems. Beginning with the specifics of his homeland, Fugard's plays reach out to engage more far-reaching issues of human relationships, race and racism, and the power of art to evoke change.
Professor Wertheim traces the growth of Athol Fugard as a playwright from his early attempts to write meaningful scripts for bi-racial cast in No-Good Friday and The Blood Knot to acting exercises that evolved into politically searing plays, Sizwe Bansi Is Dead and The Island. He analyses Fugard's interrogation of how racism tragically scars both its victims and victimisers in A Lesson from Aloes, Master Harold, and My Children! My Africa!; and discusses the dramatic truths and hopes for reconciliation evident in the new sites and optimism reflected in Playland, My Life, Valley Song, and The Captain's Tiger, which Fugard wrote during and after the demise of apartheid.
Exploring the ideas and dramaturgy of Fugard's work, this study makes clear how Fugard uses the era of apartheid and its aftermath to reach audiences not merely in South Africa but also those far removed from the particularities of South African problems. From South Africa to the World provides readers with an in-depth understanding of Athol Fugard's plays that explores the ways his theatre enables us to see that what is performed on stage can also be performed in society and in our lives; how, inverting Shakespeare, Athol Fugard makes his stage the world.

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The dramatic art of Athol Fugard: from South Africa to the world

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Wertheim (English, theater, and drama, Indiana Univ.) masterfully provides a scholarly analysis of Athol Fugard's plays to date. Fugard, best known for Master Harold and the Boys, is one of South ... Read full review


Acting against Apartheid
Fugards First Problem Play
The Other Problem Plays

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About the author (2000)

Albert Wertheim is Professor of English and of Theatre and Drama at Indiana University. He has published widely on modern and classic British and American drama and on post-colonial writing; directed several NEH seminars on politics in the theatre and on new literatures from Africa, the West Indies, and the Pacific; and served on the editorial boards of American Drama, Theatre Survey, South African Theatre Journal, and Westerly.

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