Fugard’s House of Sorrow and Remorse.

Posted: July 27, 2012 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

So the Blue Iris’ run has been extended to 4 August.  Not surprising really as Athol Fugard has once again let loose his imagination and finely tuned craft with his usual fervour and skill.

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As the sun dries up the Karoo landscape and the lack of food and water kills every living creature around them, a small family slowly falls apart along with the landscape.  It is a very tragic story virtually from the get go. You can almost see the husband and wife’s love and compassion for each other slowly seep into the dry soil and eventually slip into the cracks. More tragic is that whilst this is happening there is love and hope blossoming around them but they fail to see it as they are too wrapped up in their own misery. The metaphors are ample and beautiful.

The final scene is not going to see you joyfully bopping out of the theatre or even leave you with a trace of optimism.  However, as always with Fugard, you are left with a lot to mull over.  Lee-Ann van Rooi’s character offers a fresh new perspective on the typical Karoo family unit.  Graham Weir is every bit the tortured and remorseful farmer. Only Claire Berlein’s brief ghostly appearance seems a bit discombobulated to me. Perhaps that is the idea.  However, her monologue does not feel as if it seamlessly slides into the rest of the play.  And then there is the appearance of the Blue Iris. It becomes quite a strong character in the play.

Blue Iris’ set design sets a brooding tone to the events that are playing out on stage.  A lovely, thought provoking piece, although for me it is not quite Fugard’s strongest production. But then he has set the bar very high by penning masterworks such as, Statements after an Arrest under the Immorality Act, Master Harold…and the Boys, and my personal favourite, The Captain’s Tiger performed beautifully as Die Kaptein se Tier.

The Blue Iris is directed by Janice Honeyman and features Claire Berlein, Graham Weir and Lee-Ann van Rooi. Pusetso Tshibedi is the Assistant Director, with lighting design by Mannie Manim, set design by Dicky Longhurst and costume design by Birrie le Roux.

It will be at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg from 21 August to 7 October 2012.
Tickets for The Blue Iris playing at the Fugard Studio Theatre range from R110 to http://www.thefugard.com


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