Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil
Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga presents, “My Children! My Africa!” to run Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 15,2011 at the St. Andrew’s Center.
The L.A. Times wrote in 1991 about Athol Fugard’s play:
This play is, after all, all about words. About their tremendous power–to dissuade, persuade, elevate, manipulate and triumph without breaking skin or shedding blood. Fugard is his own best example. “If a struggle needs weapons,” he implores through the mouthpiece of his dedicated black teacher, Mr. M, “ give it words! ”
His play dazzles with its words. They govern its sadness and its passion–that of Mr. M (Brock Peters) for the supremacy of language; that of his favorite student Thami (Sterling Macer Jr.) for freedom too long deferred; that of the brilliant white South African schoolgirl, Isabel (Melora Hardin), for life in all its force, even when that eventually includes betrayal.
Incredible. Kicking off with the rather simple premise of a lively inter-school debate, “My Children! My Africa!” goes on to explore the complex matters of the poison of apartheid and violence, and the nature of ethics and friendship in socially turbulent South Africa.
Below are quotes from, “My Children! My Africa!” first produced in 1989 by Athol Fugard:
“Knowledge has banished fear”
“Hope…don’t be fooled by its gentle name. It is as dangerous as Hate and Despair”
“The clocks are ticking, my friends. History has got a strict timetable. If we’re not careful we might be remembered as the country where everybody arrived too late”
“The thought that you and Thami would be another two victims of this country’s lunacy, was almost too much for me. The time for lamentation is past”
Fugard says in the following video, “Write about what you love and what you know.”
Listen to the story about ETC’s production with director, Brenda Schwab and actor Jeremy Wilkins: