The world of apartheid that gave birth to Athol Fugard's Master Harold...and the Boys may no longer exist, but the play's central character, a young white boy, trying to understand and perhaps overcome the hatred he's grown up with, still reflects on today's issues of race. The 1982 award-winning drama begins performances at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre May 4-June 8. Laird Williamson (Long Day's Journey into Night, Machinal) directs.
In one afternoon at the St. George's Park Tea Room in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a 17 year old white boy's conversation with his family's black servants moves from humorous recollections to racial hatred. In the end, "Master Harold" must decide if he will accept the disdain for blacks his parents taught him or if he can embrace his black friends and rebel against the system of apartheid. Often writing about the political and social atmosphere of his native South Africa, Fugard penned The Blood Knot, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, A Lesson from Aloes and Valley Song, as well as his latest, Sorrows and Rejoicings.
17 year old Jonathan Sanders stars as Master Harold with Steven Anthony Jones as Sam and Gregory Wallace as Willie. Jones played Willie in 1987's Master Harold at San Jose Repertory and has since starred in ACT productions of Othello, Hecuba, The Invention of Love and Indian Ink. Wallace's credits at ACT include Angels in America, The Misanthrope, Edward II and Tartuffe.
Designing the show are Ralph Funicello (sets), Peter Maradudin (lighting), Claudia Everett (costumes) and Garth Hemphill (sound).
Tickets are $55-$14. American Conservatory Theatre's Geary Theater is located at 415 Geary Street. For reservations, call (415) 749-2250. American Conservatory Theatre is on the web at www.act-sfbay.org. — By Christine Ehren