The Baxter’s runaway hit play ‘Mies Julie’ returns home from its triumphant success in New York, bringing along a string of prestigious awards and accolades, for a season in The Laager at the Market Theatre from January 17 to February 24, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8.15pm and Sundays at 3.15pm.
After braving the aftermath of New York’s devastating ‘Frankenstorm’, the production commenced its international tour with its US premiere at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn in November. It played to critical acclaim and was voted as one of New York’s 10 Best Productions for 2012 by Ben Brantley from the New York Times.
Further praise came from Lyn Gardner from the Guardian who placed it at number five in her Best theatre of 2012 listings as did Die Burger’s Marianna Malan and Marina Griebenouw who listed it as one of their top five theatre shows in Cape Town.
Based on August Strindberg’s 1888 classic ‘Miss Julie’, director Yael Farber’s explosive new version is set in the remote, bleak beauty of the Eastern Cape Karoo and tackles the deeper complexities of South African society.
Farber has assembled a formidable cast led by Thoko Ntshinga as Christine, with Bongile Mantsai as John and Hilda Cronje as Julie. Canadian brothers Daniel and Matthew Pencer created the music for the production, in collaboration with Tandiwe Nofirst Lungisa from the Ngqoko Cultural Group.
After premiering at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown earlier this year to rave reviews from local critics, the play enjoyed a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, the largest and most prestigious arts festival in the world. The production was met with unanimous critical acclaim and garnered three of the Festival’s top awards and numerous five-star reviews.
A 1985 production of Miss Julie generated controversy when it was performed at the Baxter and Market Theatres and starred Sandra Prinsloo and John Kani. Their stage kiss sparked a national outcry by right-wing organisations and saw protests, and even death threats, that led to immense pressure on the Censorship Board to ban the production.
Farber’s version takes place in a post-apartheid Karoo kitchen which becomes a potent convergence point for domination, domestic practicality and untenable sadness. The visceral struggles of contemporary South Africa are laid bare in this domestic setting, as the protagonists engage in a deadly battle over power, sexuality, memory, and land – a battle that eventually spirals out of control.
“The events that ignite overnight in the play, in this remote farmland kitchen, reflect the larger dilemmas of the nation and, indeed, today’s world. The tensions so central to Strindberg’s original text assume deeper, darker proportions in this adaptation,” explains Farber.
The production continues its international tour when it transfers to the Riverside Studios in London for a three-month long run from March to May.
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