Athol Fugard

Definition

Theater

  • (1932 - ) South African playwright anddirector, whose work is largely concerned with the social and racialproblems of that country. The son of an Afrikaner mother and an Irishfather, he served as a merchant seaman before entering the theateras a stage manager. His early plays, which include No Good Friday(1959) and The Blood Knot (1961), explore the lives of Blackworkers and the everyday injustices of the apartheid system: the latter playled the government to confiscate his passport for four years.

    In the early 1960s Fugard and his actress wife, Sheila Meiring,formed an amateur theater company of Black actors in New Brighton, a townshipof Port Elizabeth. Amongst the plays he directed there were works bySophocles, Machiavelli, and Brecht. In his own work for the company,he explored the ideas of improvisation and collective creation.This approach resulted in several acclaimed productions, notably SizweBansi Is Dead, which found success in London and New York, and Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act (both 1972).

    Fugard's subsequent work includes the semi-autobiographical MasterHarold ... and the Boys (1982), My Children! My Africa! (1990), The Captain's Tiger (1999), and Sorrows and Rejoicings (2002).In 2010 Fugard directed his latest play, The Train Driver, at the newly opened Fugard Theatre in Cape Town.

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