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Monday, July 20, 2009


(Thabani Sibiya as Sam, Matthew Venturas as Hally and Loyiso MacDonald as Willie)

Master Harold …and the Boys - Athol Fugard’s seminal three-hander drama about the complex relationship between a young white teenager and his two older black servant / companions, comes to the Catalina Theatre in Wilsons’s Wharf from July 30 for a season designed primarily as a study aid to high school learners.

Master Harold …and the Boys is a beautifully-crafted one-act play that takes place inside the St. George's Park Tea Room in 1950 Port Elizabeth (the year apartheid was enforced) on a rainy and windy afternoon. A profound and personal story, Master Harold echoes Fugard’s Eastern Cape boyhood and reflects on a particularly painful incident in Fugard’s own childhood.

Master Harold – Hally – is a youthful Eastern Cape teenager (Matthew Venturas) who spends most afternoons with the perceptive and wise Sam (Thabani Sibiya) and the more submissive, less-sophisticated Willie (Loyiso MacDonald) - two middle aged male servants who work in his family’s “tea room”. He spends his afternoons doing school homework, while Sam and Willie tend the shop. Hally looks to Sam as a substitute father figure, as his own war-wounded, alcohol dependent father is noticeably absent. The play examines the complex relationship between the two men and the young boy, using powerful imagery and memorable metaphors. It is a story about pride, hurt, fear and bigotry, which was for many years banned in South Africa.

This time the director is Shaun Gray.

It has been staged enjoyed numerous stagings – particularly memorably was the then NAPAC Loft Theatre production featuring Bheki Mkhwane and Madoda Ncayiyana as “the Boys” with Christopher Catherine as “Master Harold”.

Athol Fugard was instrumental in finding a social and theatrical voice during the dark years of apartheid. Many of his plays were banned in South Africa, and were instead staged at the progressive Yale Repertory Theatre in Connecticut America. He is generally considered the finest South African playwright, and his works have been widely performed and studied here and abroad.

Master Harold …and the Boys runs from July 30 to August 16. Tickets R65 (concessions R50 and scholars group booking R40pp - one free teacher per group of 10 pupils). Shows are 11h00 weekdays for school groups. Public performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 20h00, Saturdays at 17h00 and 20h00 and Sundays at 14h00 and 18h00.

To book call Thandeka on 031 305 6889 or email Catalina Theatre tickets now available online at or at or /

The Catalina Theatre is still functioning thanks to the incredible generosity and support from Rainbow Chicken, National Arts Council and Ethekwini Municipality.