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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE ISLAND (article first published : 2003-03-18)

Athol Fugardís well-known drama, The Island featuring a cast of two Eager Artists members and directed by Jerry Pooe will run in the Playhouse Loft from April 25 to May 18.

The Island tells a story of real life political prisoners in Robben Island during the apartheid era. Humour and pain is used to relate a story of two men, Winston and John. Originally played by Winston Ntshona and John Kani, they will be played in the Eager Artistsí version by Mbheki Mabhida and Wonderboy Gumede.

The two prisoners tell their story from when they first saw the Greek tragedy Antigone at a township hall to the time when they were arrested. Their story is about the common bond of human aspirations. So accustomed to being locked in a prison cell like two tamed birds, they forget about the freedom of flying yet they can still fly.

When one of them is about to be released, a moment of truth arrives and the reality of the outside world hits both of them in the face. Fear, jealousy, anger and cruelty drive them both to madness. Their story becomes the story of South Africa but goes beyond African boundaries to the world where human rights and human dignity face abuse.

In this story, Athol Fugard draws on the story of Antigone, where a woman who fought for her common human rights was prepared to die for the cause of protecting human dignity by challenging the oppressive laws. This aspect makes The Island a universal story of fighting for freedom.

The play completed a successful three-week run at the end of last year in the United States at the Irish Classical Theatre and received rave reviews in Buffalo New York.




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