Theatre Review: The Train Driver – Tracking The Changes, Or No (Happy) Country For Old Men

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Dawid Minaar and John Kani (Photographer: Brett Rubin)

By BRUCE DENNILL

The Train Driver / Directed by Charmaine Weir-Smith / Mannie Manim Theatre, Market Theatre, Newtown, Johannesburg                     7

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With The Train Driver being one of Athol Fugard’s more recent plays – it premiered in 2010 – it might be expected that some of the playwright’s long-established themes (politics and race relations, primarily) might have been shifted to the periphery, somewhat. That is the case to some degree, with the piece being an intimate two-hander built around the tragic suicide of an unseen third character. But the us-and-them narrative remains, arguably – in just a couple of spots in the script – to the detriment of the play.

The story concerns Simon (John Kani), an elderly black labourer whose job is to bury unclaimed bodies in a bare piece of ground in a township cemetery, where he has to deal with, among other threats, gangs of violent youngsters and roaming street dogs. Into his life stumbles…

To read the complete pARTicipate review visit http://www.brucedennill.co.za/theatre-review-the-train-driver-tracking-the-changes-or-no-happy-country-for-old-men/

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