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Helen, whose husband’s death has caused her to stave off various bouts of depression and battles with, to use her word, “darkness,” has recently re-discovered her gift for sculpture. Her back yard – which Helen calls her Mecca - is full of bright, colorful, life-sized figures of biblical wise men, birds, and anything else her imagination encourages her to make. One of Helen’s only remaining friends, Elsa, pays her a surprise visit from Cape Town. During their discussion, Helen mentions that the
Powerful, moving play about (amongst other things) creativity, freedom and the courage to live according to your own vision. As well as the price that an individual all too often pays for daring to be different. Beautiful.
This is not a novel, it is a play script that involves 3 characters. Although the main character of the play was inspired by the real artist Helen Martins, the other two characters are fictional.The main character is Miss Helen, an elderly widow, who lives in a tiny village called New Bethesda in the Karoo, South Africa. She is viewed by the local community as a crazy recluse, and spends her days creating sculptures and artwork that decorates her garden and house. Elsa is a young woman from Cape...
Friendship is expressed beautifully in this short play through a widowed artist coping with Darkness and her young teacher friend who happens to teach her a few lessons in courageously being herself. This is not at all what I expected when I started reading it, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how it ended ... and how I could envisage my own ending to the story. I discovered layers to Marius, whom I thought would be a one-dimensional character. Powerful and yet so simple.
Couldnt put the book down. The story is engrossing and so poetic. Athol Furgard is a literal genius forever and day!
4.5 stars.What a wonderful play. After reading his novel, Tsotsi, I thought I'd give his plays a try. I definitely wasn't disappointed. There's more compassion and feeling in this 1 and a half hour play than his entire novel. The eccentric older woman and her young teacher friend have a wonderfully complex relationship. When they are with each other they behave like children, but both have been dealing with personal crises which come to a head when the local vicar comes to assert his own agenda....
Went to see this play from a local community theater (did not read). It was absolutely stunning and many moments were very emotional and moving.
I mistook this for another book called The Road to Mecca, but since it was a play, I read it anyway. The story takes place in Nieu Bethesda, South Africa, and is about the final days of a South African folk artist named Helen Martins as she welcomes a friend from Cape Town, and they, along with the village pastor, discuss the possibility of her moving to a nursing home. The play has been performed on Broadway, I think, at a time when America was just becoming conscious of the issue of Apartheid....
It must be noted that I do not actually enjoy reading playscripts; I would rather watch a performance in a theatre, or read a novel. Having said that, Fugard had me thoroughly invested in his story. His depiction of the three characters is subtle and beautiful. He manages to keep his characters, who could all easily fall into bland single tone representatives, interesting as he slowly reveals their past and their understandings of the world around them. Elsa is not just a bleeding heart, Helen n...
Another powerful play by Athol Fugard; two acts, three characters. This is about two women, a seventy year old widow from a small town and her young schoolteacher friend from Port Elizabeth. The third character is the widow's minister. The play deals with many different issues, more about personal choices and personal freedom than politics this time (except in the sense that everything is political.) I can't summarize it without spoilers. Despite the title, it is not about Moslems or even religi...
A touching statement on the roles which faith and creativity play in the endurance of the human spirit. This was the second Fugard play that I read, and was once again astounded by his command of character and realistic dialogue. Through his telling of Helen's story (the seemingly 'crazy' yet wildly imaginative old woman at the center of the story)we are shown a remarkably important moment in the lives of several people.
This is a beautiful play. It was reccommended to me by Kat. a friend of hers in Madison is doing the play there.Basically, the story of one woman's search for enlightenment (Mecca) through her art. It's based on a true story. Helen did exist. She lived in South Africa and the playwright who bought a home in the town she lived in became fascinated with her story.It's also a movie which Kathy Bates did in 1992. If I can find it I'm going to buy it.
There is an ominous air to this story that drew me in and has stayed with me since I read it. Time gives an interesting perspective on the events in this play, one of hurry, uncertainty, worry and fear, but it also adds a powerful nature to the story and the reconciliation that happens at the end seems to have an air of healing. I really enjoyed reading good South African literature, it felt familiar and resonated inside my soul
Very short but moving play set in 1970s South Africa and centered around the struggles of one woman - Miss Helen - as she's pulled in two differing directions by the two closest people to her. It's man vs. woman, young vs. old, religious vs. secular with a world vision beyond her small town. I saw the play and cried - very moving.
A play that is mostly just two women that isn't about rape or men or stereotypical 2 women play things! My heart is rejoicing. This play is beautiful and touching and infuriating and boy was I invested! It has some really meaty roles to dig into. Women: 28 yr old character with amazing monologue prospects in here. Seriously! I think I might add this to the plays I want to direct list...
This was a very interesting play. I liked the fact that Miss Helen existed in real life. It gives the play a more believable and enjoyable feel to it.Favourite Quotes:"He came up with a postures of despair that would have made Michelangelo jealous." p. 30"A true friendship should be able to accommodate a difference of opinion."p. 52
I read many of Fugard's plays back in the eighties but not this one. When I finally found it, I lamented not having found it sooner. When I finished reading it, I thought, it came at just the right time. To all the Elsas and Helens and Mariuses out there, I hope you find it at the right time for you.
Ah, the unfortunately named Athol.
This is good. Read it. It is too long to explain so go to Amazon and read the summary and reviews.
This is a play. It was a different type of thing for me to read.l