Written and performed by Pamela Gien, the play recounts a story of abiding love between two families - one black, one white - and the two children born into their shared household in South Africa in the early 1960s.
First seen through the eyes of a six-year-old girl trying to make sense of the chaos and magic of her world, the play follows the families' destinies through four generations from early apartheid to the present day South Africa.
Syringa Tree proved one of the bigger sleeper hits in recent New York theatre history. The show opened quietly at Playhouse 91 in Manhattan and slowly drew a cult following, getting a big boost after talk show host Rosie O'Donnell praised the play and had Gien on her show as a guest. Gien went on to win an Obie Award for Best Play. The show is still running at the Upper East Side Off-Broadway theatre.
The play is performed in the Cottesloe Theatre and runs for approximately an hour and a half. As The Syringa Tree shows, South Africa and the changes it has seen over the last few decades continues to be a rich source of material for playwrights.
and Robert Simonson