Powerful Athol Fugard classic for KKNK

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The Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, Eric Abraham and The Fugard Theatre present this exciting co-production of Athol Fugard’s powerful classic – Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act.

Marlo Minnaar and Liezl de Kock star as Errol Philander and Frieda Joubert in Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act.
Marlo Minnaar and Liezl de Kock star as Errol Philander and Frieda Joubert in Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act.

This new production, directed by Greg Karvellas – Artistic Director of The Fugard Theatre – will be staged at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn from 21 to 26 March, followed by a run at The Fugard Studio Theatre on a date to be announced.

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of the KKNK and Kunste Onbeperk, which presents the Festival, and that recently awarded Athol Fugard with its Kunste Onbeperk Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre.

The highly regarded Marlo Minnaar (7de Laan, Sara Se Geheim, Boland Moorde), who also hails from Oudtshoorn, home of the KKNK, and Liezl de Kock (Piet se Optelgoed, Crazy in Love, Pictures of You, African Gothic) star as Errol Philander and Frieda Joubert.

Written in 1972, Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act is set in apartheid South Africa, where relationships across the colour bar were a criminal offence. Two lovers – a coloured man and white woman meet secretly in the library where the woman works to make love and share their hopes and fears. A neighbour reports them to the police who secretly photograph them from the informant’s backyard and eventually break in and arrest the couple under the then inhuman and universally pilloried Immorality Act. The play is a compelling and deeply moving love story in which the physically and emotionally naked lovers expose not only their bodies but also their deepest longings for personal and emotional freedom.

Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act is written by Athol Fugard and directed by Greg Karvellas. Set Design and Lighting Design are by Wolf Britz, Soundscape is by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and Sound Design is by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder and David Classen.

Tracey Saunders of the Cape Times wrote about the continued relevance of this play, “It is not often that a play performed 40 years after it was written can find such deep resonance in current society… the script is poetic… and Fugard’s mastery of language is evident throughout”.

This followed an earlier Fugard Theatre production of the play in 2012, which transferred to The Fugard Studio Theatre after a brief workshop run at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective (TAAC) as part of Kim Kerfoot’s Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary from Gipca, the Baxter Theatre Centre and the TAAC.

“We are honoured to be partnering with the KKNK for the first time as part of their 25-year celebrations,” says Daniel Galloway, Managing Director of The Fugard Theatre. “Athol Fugard is a master of examining and challenging our need for an understanding of one another and in order to discover our common humanity. These themes remain searingly relevant in our world today.”

Athol Fugard was born in 1932 in Middelburg in the Karoo. An internationally acclaimed playwright-director and occasional actor, for over half a century he has written almost forty soul-searing plays with roles for all South Africans which have moved audiences in South Africa and around the world to laughter and tears as they reflected the inhumanity of apartheid. His plays champion truth and fundamental universal humanity. In 2011 he received the ultimate recognition from the world’s most prestigious theatre community – a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre. He is also the author of four books and several screenplays. His plays include Blood Knot, Boesman and Lena, Master Harold and the Boys, The Train Driver, The Blue Iris and The Shadow of the Hummingbird. A number of his works have been turned into films with director Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, based on his 1980 short story of the same name winning the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film – South Africa’s first Academy Award in this category. Athol’s work spans the period of apartheid in South Africa, through the first democratic elections, to Nelson Mandela’s presidency and into present-day, post-apartheid South Africa.

The recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards, Athol was awarded the prestigious PraemiumImperiale global arts prize for Theatre/Film by the Japan Art Association in 2014. One of the most performed playwrights in the world, he continues to direct and write plays. He shares his life with his wife the writer and academic Paula Fourie and their dog Jakkals.

There is an age advisory of 16 years (there is full nudity throughout).

Statements After An Arrest Under The Immorality Act will be performed at Gimsaal at the KKNK from 21 until 26 March at 15h00 daily. Tickets cost R135 and can be booked at Computicket or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. Tickets cost R150 at the door.

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