Master Harold…and the Boys

Athol Fugard’s Master-Piece Seemed Prescient This Year

This may be a case of who-can- remember-what-happened-in-January, but I can’t get out of my mind the play I saw just at Signature Theater, Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold… and the Boys.” I am an easy mark for all things South Africa, and yet: On a rainy afternoon in apartheid-era Port Elizabeth, the white son of the St. George’s Park Tea Room’s owners commits a scalding injustice against one of the family’s two black servants, who also staff the tea room. The play meanders for its first half, but then midway through, it snaps straight like the cruelest rod, and you can’t take your eyes off for the remainder. I think Fugard explains a bit more than necessary now and then, but his play left a visceral mark, especially considering the social and political climate in which we find ourselves now.

- Boris Fishman
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Master Harold and the Boys

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