“Master Harold”
…and the Boys

Court House Theatre | june 30 – september 10

By ATHOL FUGARD
Directed by PHILIP AKIN
Set and costumes designed by PETER HARTWELL
Lighting designed by KEVIN LAMOTTE
Dance sequences by VALERIE MOORE

“Without the dream we won’t know what we’re going for.”

Port Elizabeth, South Africa — 1950. In a tea-shop owned by his parents, Harold does homework while two black men rehearse ballroom dancing. Hally and the men, who have long worked for his family, recall fond memories of times spent together as the young boy escaped his family life. But when news comes that the boy’s father is returning home, the personal becomes political. First produced in 1982, the play was initially banned in South Africa and has since become an enduring, modern classic that continues to speak to inequality and injustice.

“I have been longing to include the work of Athol Fugard in our programming as he is surely one of the most important playwrights in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His unceasing desire to expose the horrors of apartheid in its many guises and at the same time reveal the hearts of those in the middle of it have resulted in seminal pieces of political theatre. Master Harold is certainly one of his most affecting stories. I am very happy to welcome back Philip Akin to direct and to continue our partnership with Toronto’s Obsidian Theatre.” —JM

This show is recommended for ages 13+.
Running time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is no intermission.
Philip Akin
Philip Akin
Director
Peter Hartwell
Peter Hartwell
Set & Costume Designer
Kevin Lamotte
Kevin Lamotte
Lighting Designer
Valerie Moore
Valerie Moore
Choreographer
Beatrice Campbell
Beatrice
Campbell
Stage Manager
Ivory Neal
Ivory Neal
Assistant Stage Manager
Andrea Schurman
Andrea Schurman
Assistant Stage Manager
James Daly
James Daly
Hally (Harold)
Allan Louis
Allan Louis
Willie
Andre Sills
André Sills
Sam
Playwright Athol Fugard was born on June 11, 1932 in Great Karoo, Cape Province, South Africa. His mother, an Afrikaner, ran the household and family business while his father, the son of immigrants from Manchester, England, was frequently ill and unable to work following a hip injury that left him handicapped. In 1935, the family moved to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. And much like the character Hally, Fugard spent a great deal of time in St George’s Park Tea Room, a café owned and run by his mother. The relationships he formed with the black employees at the Tea Room would ultimately fuel the story of this play.

In an interview, Fugard was asked about the autobiographical nature of the play and he spoke about the young Hally and his love of words and his desire to write. He also spoke of what led him to ultimately write about his relationship with the two men who worked at his mother’s tea shop:

“For fifteen years I kept thinking to myself, when am I going to get around to writing about those two extraordinary men, Sam and Willie, who were literally my closest, and virtually my only friends for a period of my childhood. Suddenly one day I put a white boy, Hally, in with them. There it was. I had it. I was locked in to the tensions, the polarity, the dynamic. I had the chance and the courage to deal with something that I had never dealt with in my life.”

Set in 1950, it was first produced at the Yale Repertory Theatre in March 1982 and made its premiere on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre where it ran for 344 performances. The play was initially banned from production in South Africa and was the first of Fugard’s plays to premiere outside of South Africa. Frank Rich of The New York Times praised the play’s Broadway premiere:

“There may be two or three living playwrights in the world who can write as well as Athol Fugard, but I’m not sure that any of them has written a recent play that can match “Master Harold” … and the Boys. Mr Fugard’s drama – lyrical in design, shattering in impact – is likely to be an enduring part of the theatre long after most of this Broadway season has turned to dust.”

The play went on to win the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, the London Critics’ Circle Theatre Award and the London Evening Standard Award for Best Play and was nominated for a Tony Award.

Now that apartheid is over, does the play still feel relevant and necessary? What the play continues to provide insight into are the deep roots of racism and inequality that exist for many in all parts of the world. Fugard’s powerful drama is timeless in its witty and compassionate treatment of his characters and their story.

Continue the Conversation

July 28, August 18, 31
Long after the curtain falls, Shaw audience members continue to talk about the intellectual and emotional meanings of the play. Why not join us to continue the conversation? Following select matinees of “Master Harold” …and the Boys meet with fellow patrons for a moderated discussion. Complimentary.

Shaw Seminar

August 4-7
The Shaw’s premier adult education experience. Enrich your understanding of the work on our stages through discussions with artists, writers, scholars, and fellow participants. Includes: six plays, lunches, reception, presentations and parking. From $780.

Book Beyond the Stage events at 1.800.511.7429.

Watch a short video on what patrons are saying about “Master Harold” …and the Boys.

An outstanding production with absolutely wonderful acting. A not to be missed production at the Shaw this year.
– Facebook

Don’t miss it! Needs to be seen, needs to be felt.
– Facebook

… a stellar performance and one not to be missed!
– Twitter

Amazing show! Stupendous cast! Brilliant everything!
– Twitter

“Master Harold” …and the Boys” at the Court House Theatre was a truly emotionally wrenching experience. A wonderful 3 character play in an intimate setting.
– TripAdvisor

“Master Harold” …and the Boys at Shaw Festival. Words fail. Stunning, powerful, moving, visceral. Keep try to dance the dance, wtih hope.
– Facebook

I was speechless when I left the theatre.
– Twitter