The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard

The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard

From South Africa to the World
Albert Wertheim
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/22/2001
Format: paper 296 pages, 24 b&w photos, 1 bibliog., 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21504-8
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“Albert Wertheim’s study of Fugard’s plays is both extremely insightful and beautifully written—a book that held my attention from beginning to end. It was a pleasure to read! Wertheim succeeds in communicating the greatness of Fugard as a playwright, actor, and director. He also conveys well what Fugard has learned from other plays and dramatists. Thus, he places Fugard’s works not so much in a South African context as in a theatrical context. He also illuminates his interpretations with the help of Fugard’s manuscripts, previously available only in South Africa. This book is aimed not only at teachers, students, scholars, and performers of Fugard but also at the person who simply loves going to see a Fugard play at the theatre.
—Nancy Topping Bazin, Eminent Scholar and Professor Emeritus, Old Dominion University

Considered one of the most brilliant, powerful, and theatrically astute of modern dramatists, South African playwright Athol Fugard is best known for The Blood Knot,"MASTER HAROLD" . . . and the boys, A Lesson from Aloes, and Sizwe Bansi Is Dead. The energy and poignancy of Fugard's work have their origins in the institutionalized racism of his native South Africa, and more recently in the issues facing a new South Africa after apartheid. In The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard, Albert Wertheim analyzes the form and content of Fugard's dramas, showing that they are more than a dramatic chronicle of South African life and racial problems. Beginning with the specifics of his homeland, Fugard's plays reach out to engage more far-reaching issues of human relationships, race and racism, and the power of art to evoke change. The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard demonstrates how Fugard's plays enable us to see that what is performed on stage can also be performed in society and in our lives; how, inverting Shakespeare, Athol Fugard makes his stage the world.

Reviews

"Wertheim's study has two particular strengths (among many): its insight into the evolution of the playwright, especially the influence of Albert Camus, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett on Fugard's canon, and its illumination of the symbolic props in the plays, e.g., the shoes and stockings in People Are Living There. An authoritative work superbly written, this book is well suited to upper-division undergraduates and above." —Choice , November 2001

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Early Work and Early Themes
2. The Port Elizabeth Plays: The Voice with Which We Speak from the Heart
3. 'Acting' Against Apartheid
4. Dimetos: Fugard's First Problem Play
5. The Drama as Teaching and Learning: Trauerspiel, Tragedy, Hope and Race
6. The Other Problem Plays
7. Writing to Right: Scripting Apartheid's Demise
8. Where Do We, Where Do I, Go from Here?: Performing a New South Africa

Works Cited
Index