Photo David Cooper.
Master Harold and the Boys, by Athol Fugard, directed by Philip Akin
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when the racism that has been quietly simmering beneath the surface begins boiling over in the Shaw Festival’s superb production of Master Harold And The Boys.
But that very difficulty is one of the points of Athol Fugard’s painfully nuanced play, set as it is in South Africa in 1950 when apartheid was tightening its grip. Fugard has a particular fascination for the conventions of day-to-day living in an entrenched racist environment, and for those moments when the conventions crumble and the veneer starts to crack. South Africa’s apartheid government had no problem spotting Master Harold’s lurking sub-text — which is why it banned performances of Fugard’s play in 1982 when it first came out.
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A Company of Fools presents Pericles, Prince of Tyre, in parks across Ottawa, July 4 to August 20, 2016. From left to right: Mekdes Teshome, Mary Ellis, AL Connors, Jennifer Cecil l to r: Mekdes Teshome (standing), Mary Ellis, AL Connors, Jennifer Cecil. Credit: Andrew Alexander
The Amazing adventures of Pericles: Prince of Tyre By William Shakespeare, adapted by the Comedy of Fools, directed by Catriona Leger
This is the breathtaking adventure of the Prince who finds himself fleeing the anger of King Antiochus and setting out to hide from the hired killer who is pursuing him around an imaginary image of the Hellenistic world from Tarsus, to Pentapolis. They continue across the great sea to Ephesus where shipwrecks, storms and much disaster separate him from his wife (whom all believe has died) . Pericles then comes into contact with the temple of Diana and the Middle eastern world of Dr. Cermion. Fourteen years pass, Pericles’ daughter Marina has grown into a lovely young lady but before the nasty jealous Queen Dionyza can do away with Pericles’ daughter , terrifying pirates kidnap her and sell her to the brothels of Mytilene, where she is befriended by Lysimachus the kind governor. And so it goes until all are united at the end. It’s easy to immerse oneself in this humungous mixture of plots and adventures and catastrophes and encounters of the most fabulous nature that suggest a twisted sort of Odyssey where all the themes and characters of all those epic tales inflame the imagination of young men. And Shakespeare was no exception.
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