California's Marin Theatre Company will present Athol Fugard's Blood Knot, directed by Fugard biographer Russell Vandenbroucke and opening Nov. 18-Dec. 13.
Blood Knot revolves around the passions and conflict of two South African brothers -- one black (Zachariah) and one so light-skinned, he can pass for white (Morris). The two are reunited after Morris has traveled the country, passing as a white man but without finding happiness. Rather than feel disdain for Morris for betraying his race, Zachariah is extremely jealous of his brother for having privileges not extended to his race. Together, in Zachariah's Port Elizabeth shack, they reconstruct childhood games in an attempt to find common ground to build for a new relationship.
Fugard himself was born of mixed race, having an Afrikaaner mother and Irish-Huguenot father. In his thirty-something years of playwriting, he's had the opportunity to expose a large public to the tense racial environment in South Africa during the years of Apartheid. Blood Knot, one of Fugard's earliest plays, was written in 1962. Fugard and actor Zakes Mokae were arrested during the Johannesburg premiere, with severe censorship laws passed prohibiting racially-mixed casts because of Blood Knot.
Other plays by Fugard include: Master Harold and the Boys, Boesman and Lena, Road to Mecca, and Valley Song. His latest, The Captain's Tiger will make its New York premiere this season at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
Vandenbroucke, a playwright as well as director, is the author of several plays including his adaptation of Sophocles' Philoctetes entitled The Wound and the Bow, Eleanor: In Her Own Words, and Feiffer's America. His biography on Fugard is entitled, "Truths the Hand Can Touch: The Theatre of Athol Fugard". Fugard's Blood Knot plays at The Marin Theatre Company, Nov. 18 - Dec. 13. For tickets ($10-$38), or more information call (415) 388-5208.
-- By Sean McGrath