When her husband dies, aging Miss Helen begins to fill her home in the remote South African bush with strange sculptures made from beer cans and old headlights. A local clergyman and a young woman visitor try to decide whether Miss Helen's peculiar art is an outpouring of creativity or an outbreak of madness.
An incandescent drama by South Africa's most celebrated playwright.
An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Julie Harris, Amy Irving, and Harris Yulin.
©1993 Athol Fugard (P)2015 L.A Theatre Works
Avid listener on my daily commute!
While the first half of this play is as all-consuming and absorbing as Fugard's best, the second half is not. All of a sudden (right around the crisis point, as Helen is forced to choose between giving in to the wishes of church and town authorities and entering an old age home, and remaining true to herself and her artistic vision, and hanging on to her rapidly fading independence), the listener is abruptly yanked out of the theatrical illusion and becomes acutely aware that s/he is merely sitting through a theme-crowded third act. I think if Fugard had not tried to cram in almost every possible theme--from romantic love, to religion and spirituality, to senility, suicide and the nature of madness, to art versus profanity, to the consequences of everything from abortion and adultery to apartheid and angels--I would have remained transfixed until the final words of the play. As it is, however, I can only rate this production so highly because of the exceptional production values and the knockout performances by lead actors Julie Harris and the unfailingly incandescent Amy Irving. Because of them, I consider this a credit well spent, and will likely listen again.
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