The Road to Mecca
Tickets are good for General Admission to any show 6/21. 6/22. 6/23 at 7:30 PM, or 6/24 at 2:00 PM.
Winner of the 1988 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play The Road to Mecca, written by Athol Fugard, is set in 1970s South Africa. It was first staged in the US in 1984 at Yale Rep, had an off-Broadway run in 1988, and saw its Broadway premiere in 2012. Fugard is best know for his overtly political plays, mostly set in his native South Africa in the days of apartheid. While this drama’s focus on the life and work of an artist might seem like a departure for the playwright, in the words of New York theatre critic, Ben Brantley, the play “ throbs with a despairing awareness of the South Africa of the 1970s as a broken and corrupting nation, a spiritual prison for those who inhabit it. Set in the remote village of New Bethesda, in the Karoo desert region, this play considers the nature and possibilities of freedom within such a place.” Based on a real-life individual, Fugard’s story of Miss Helen, an aging Afrikaner widow who creates unusual sculptures in order to escape the crushing reality of her isolated life and the social expectations that accompany that life, brings together two social and political opposites who each consider themself her friend and take a strong interest in her welfare according to their own conflicting views about artistic creativity and the challenges of aging. Her very conservative minister, Marius, wants to send Helen to an old folks home, where she will be “safe” from both criticism and harm. Her young friend, Elsa, more politically engaged than Marius, wants Helen to have the independence as a woman and an artist that society seems to find so dangerous. Called by the script’s publisher, “a penetrating study of the role of the artist in any society,” The Road to Mecca also speaks to larger hopes and fears about aging and independence. "The author's most personal play to date, an essential Rosetta stone for the entire canon." - The New York Times "Glows with a rare luminosity and intensity. Athol Fugard's play...is his most eloquent and transforming." - The Christian Science Monitor. "One of Fugard's simplest, most beautiful plays." - The New York Daily News