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New Territories

Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa


Greg Homann and Marc Maufort

South African theatre, drama, and performance is a vibrant and rapidly developing area of contemporary theatre studies. In this critical anthology of essays and interviews, some of the world’s most respected scholars and practitioners writing and working in the area of South African theatre today share their detailed examinations and insights on the complex and contradictory context of post-apartheid society. Loosely grouped into the categories of Theatre, Drama, and Performance, the essays collected here offer a sampling of work being staged, produced, and written in the country today. The contributors document, contrast, and analyse significant case studies, representing examples from site-specific performance to new South African plays, from traditional indigenous performance practice to the reimagining of Western classics. The anthology takes the year of South Africa’s first democratic election, 1994, as its departure point and includes a broad range of topics that capture the current paradigm.
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Staging Miss Julie: Re-Visioning Strindberg


← 222 | 223 → Staging Mies Julie: Re-Visioning Strindberg1


York University

Yaël Farber is an internationally acclaimed playwright, director and co-creator of testimonial theatre with an impressive oeuvre of plays, which has won multiple awards including the Best of Edinburgh Award in 2012 for Mies Julie: Restitutions of Body and Soil Since the Bantu Land Act No 27 of 1913 & The Immorality Act No 5 of 1927. Her most recent creation, Nirbhaya (2013), is translated from Hindi as “the fearless one” and refers to the female medical student who was gang raped and brutally injured on a bus in Delhi and soon afterwards died. The descriptor, the fearless one, is also apt for Farber, who deals with provocative theatre, urgent and unpopular issues, and refuses to live in denial or sanitize complex predicaments. In a recent interview, Farber spoke about her desire to “create theatre that wakes people up, not anesthetizes them” (Freitag 17). Her work certainly fulfills this aim. Her productions, under her company Farber Foundry, founded in 2004, have toured the world including Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and the United States of America.

Farber specializes in two totally different forms of theatre: testimonial theatre and re-visionings of the classics, which she re-situates in South Africa. In an interview from 2008, she encapsulates her oeuvre thus: “all my work tends to be about pursuing a certain truth and getting to the marrow of South...

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