My Children! My Africa!
The Studio Theatre production of My Children! My Africa! by playwright Anthol Fugard, a South African, is one of the best written plays I have seen in long time.
Though there are only three actors in the play, the action combined with the fine acting (they received a standing ovation) keeps the viewer in the palm of the playwright. Fugard eloquently and successfully interweaves several issues into the play: loyalty, friendship, and use of language. The deliver of these issues by the actors: James Brown-Orleans, Veronica del Cerro, and Yaegel T. Welch was on target and couldn\’t have been better.
Yes, South Africa has changed, but the issues faced by the people then are still issues many confront daily in different regions of the world. In fact, even in the USA we are faced with individuals who betray others because they think they are doing the right thing or in reality perhaps some are doing what they simply want to do because it is in their best interest.
How often do we hear elected official saying they are doing what is in the best interest of the country. Do they really mean the people and the laws of the land or are they using that as a pretext for their personal gain or the financial benefit of their supporters?
In this play, the school teacher is confronted with this very issue and he knows what the outcome is when he betrays his own kind. The teacher keeps his principles and must take the consequences they bring.
The play works on several levels because one cannot simply accept or reject one side or the other. Sometimes it is possible that both sides are right and therein lies the rub.
It is truly a wonderful experience when viewers (and thanks for the intermission to be able to move around) can leave the theatre excited about the language and polemics of a play. That goes to show that first is the word and the word must be written and yes it does take a talented director such as Serge Seiden, a Helen Hays nominee, to make the words shine like African diamonds.
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