Fugard's Coming Home Begins Jan. 14 at Berkeley Rep

News   Fugard's Coming Home Begins Jan. 14 at Berkeley Rep
Lou Ferguson, Roslyn Ruff, Thomas Silcott and more appear in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's production of Athol Fugard's new play, Coming Home — about South Africa in the age of AIDS — starting Jan. 14 on the Rep's intimate Thrust Stage.
Coming Home star Roslyn Ruff
Coming Home star Roslyn Ruff Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Opening in Berkeley, CA, is Jan. 20, for a run to Feb. 28. Gordon Edelstein directs the play, which is presented in association with Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Edelstein directed the world premiere of Coming Home in February 2009 at Long Wharf Theatre, using some of the same cast members.

The play is billed as a poignant drama about South Africa in the age of AIDS. South African writer Fugard "confronts the hard truths of his homeland while celebrating the unquenchable power of hope."

Fugard said in a statement, "I was drunk with freedom when I wrote Valley Song, intoxicated with the potential of our fledgling democracy. Fourteen years later, I've taken stock of the situation with Coming Home. Many things went terribly wrong in the new South Africa: corruption, violence, the tragic denial of the AIDS epidemic. Yet, whenever I am back in the country, I find a thousand reasons to hope because the people of the country are just amazing — especially the youth. So, while this show contains a sort of sober reckoning, it still offers promise and possibility by way of the little boy."

Fugard's plays include A Lesson from Aloes, My Children! My Africa!, The Bloodknot, The Road to Mecca, Valley Song, "Master Harold"…and the boys, Exits and Entrances, Boesman and Lena and more.

Lou Ferguson (Oupa Jonkers) performed on Broadway in Playboy of the Western World, Seven Guitars and Two Trains Running. Roslyn Ruff (Veronica Jonkers) won an Obie Award for her performance in Seven Guitars at Signature Theatre Company. Her other Off-Broadway credits include The Cherry Orchard and Macbeth at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Things of Dry Hours at New York Theatre Workshop.

Lou Ferguson and Roslyn Ruff in Coming Home
photo by T. Charles Erickson

Both Ferguson and Ruff appeared in the world premiere of Coming Home in Connecticut; they are joined for this production by Thomas Silcott (Alfred Witbooi). In New York, Silcott appeared in Broken Jug at Lincoln Center and The Color of Justice at the New Victory Theatre. He performed in Coming Home at the Fountain Theatre and in the national and international tours of Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk. The cast also features local kids: Five-year-old Kohle Thomas Bolton and 11-year-old Jaden Malik Wiggins share the role of Mannetjie, playing the plucky boy in two different scenes because the character ages over the course of the play.

Coming Home's creative team includes Eugene Lee (scenic design), Jessica Ford (costume design), Stephen Strawbridge (lighting design), Corrine K. Livingston (sound design), John Gromada (original compositions), Lynne Soffer (dialect coach) and Michael Suenkel (Berkeley Rep's resident stage manager).

For tickets or information, call (510) 647-2949 or toll-free at (888) 4-BRT-Tix, or visit berkeleyrep.org.

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