The Road to Mecca

Length: 2 hrs and 8 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about The Road to Mecca

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Maybe Not Fugard's Best

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.

6 people found this helpful

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What plays are supposed to be for

Superb. I had only known Master Harold & the Boys. And the performances are truly riveting.

1 person found this helpful

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very informative

The performance is wonderful i recommend it to book lovers miss Helen is inspirational hey

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an afrikaans story told in english

brilliant play. magical subject. ridiculous lack of research into pronunciation of character names in afrikaans. we gace you thousands of expats.... come on folks.

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Just WOW

Totally blown away. I laughed and cried. This book give you so much to think about now I want to go out and find my own Mecca.

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  • Jean-Pierre Fouché
  • 10-16-17

Deep, meaningful work of art, marred slightly...

Deep, meaningful and moving work of art, but marred slightly by a week ending, which felt a bit like a soap opera. The performance was good, but the accents were slightly unsatisfactory. But for the above detractions, I loved it, and would highly recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mountain
  • 05-19-20

Angst in the Veldt

If we put to one side Julie Harris' bizarre Scottish accent, the performances are excellent- and beautifully directed.The play itself peaks with a wonderful row between a conservative pastor and a city-based radical. Unfortunately the third character of the piece-- a whiney , spineless old biddy, is not an adequate object for their respective philosophies of life. The play collapses in the last half hour with a silly mystical stretch, some old-fashioned melodrama and reliance on an off-stage incident which has been flogged to death as a metaophor throughout the two hours. Some classy dialogue, though.