Looking at theatre and the arts across North East England, the North East Theatre Guide continues to celebrate culture in our region.
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Preview: Playland On Tour
African apartheid play to tour the North East during Black History Month
Playland by Athol Fugard
Hexham Queen’s Hall Arts Centre Wednesday
16 – Thursday 17 October 2019
North Shields Exchange Friday 19 October
Durham City Theatre Thursday 24 – Saturday
26 October 2019
Darlington Hullabaloo Sunday 3
A poignant play set during the end of apartheid
and a month before the release of Nelson Mandela is being performed across
North East theatres during Black History Month.
Playland, by Athol Fugard, features
only two characters – Martinus Zoeloe, a black night watchman and Gideon le Roux, a white former
soldier – and is set in a run-down South African amusement park on New Year’s Eve
The play uses the characters – both of whom are struggling to
come to terms with different violent pasts – to explore their similarities and
differences in a racially divided world.
Playland is being brought to the region this month by theatre
company Elysium. Actor Faz Singhateh, who plays Martinus, believes the plot will
resonate with audiences today, of every age.
He said: “I think that younger audiences will get this play
because of what is happening politically now with Brexit. We are divided about
what to do now, there is a massive distrust on both camps. Older audiences will
also remember this time in history of apartheid.What people will take from this play is that
there is hope, Playland offers a tonic that peace is possible.I think that this is a play of reconciliation,
and of what we are capable of if we sit and listen to each other. Both
characters talk ‘at’ each other, and it is only at the end when they begin to
listen and say ‘what can we do?’ and walk off as friends.If we can take two characters – one black one
white – who have been isolated and feel angry, and they can come to some form
of understanding, then there is hope for us all.”
Playland, set four years before South Africa’s first free
elections, will tour the region for the very first time, coinciding with Black
History Month in October.
Faz, 52, added: “Black History Month throws up a beautiful
magnifying glass to the celebration of black writing, literature and society. It
is a massive celebration of how far we have come with accepting people, it is a
Jake Murray Photo: Garth Williams
Durham-based Elysium was founded in 2017
by director and actor Jake Murray, son of the late Braham Murray, and actor
Danny Solomon, who plays former soldier Gideon le Roux.
said: “Playland is a dark and beautiful play about our capacity to
heal ourselves through acceptance – acceptance of ourselves and other people. In
a time when countries are redefining themselves along lines of race, religion
and culture, Playland is a powerful reminder of what that path leads to, as
well as a tribute to the power of the human spirit.I
am really looking forward to bringing this wonderful piece of theatre to the
Elysium has collaborated with the Queen’s Hall, Hexham, on Playland,
which will feature Q&As with the show’s director and cast after each performance,
at every venue.The theatre company aims
to bring the best of world theatre to the north of England, ensuring it is
accessible and affordable to all.