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Topic Summary

Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: June 05, 2011, 02:17:42 PM »

And another review, from the West Cape News, 5 Jun 2011:

"I was sincerely disorientated when the house lights went up for interval. It felt like the play had just begun but no, my watch confirmed that 50 minutes had passed. It was a telling indication of just how enthralling Athol Fugard’s new play, ‘The Bird Watchers’, is.
...It is more a memoir, a tribute to friends now lost.
... Although the elderly writer played by Sean Taylor in the second act of The Bird Watcher’s is as full of doubts as the young Captain’s Tiger was, in reality the 79-year-old Fugard has conquered the world. He is touted as the world’s most staged living playwright and is to receive a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement on June 12 at a ceremony in New York.
...Although Fugard stresses that the three characters in The Bird Watchers are not “meant to represent anybody either living or dead”, he is also on record as saying all his plays are autobiographical.
The Bird Watchers was “inspired by my relationships with two of the truly pioneering spirits of South African theatre: Barney Simon and Yvonne Bryceland. I spent many hours with the two of them in the shade of an umGwenya tree in the garden of my Port Elizabeth home, talking about theatre and life in general”, he notes.
... We see two versions of [a] particularly torrid afternoon in Port Elizabeth: The initial meeting of friends, and a return, 30 years later as Garth’s memories are re-enacted in a space created by his own conscience."

The full text is here
Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: June 05, 2011, 02:12:43 PM »

An interesting review by Peter Tromp

"... this play is in an almost completely different key to past and even recent works of his.
 Let me get this right out of the way: ‘The Bird Watchers’ is not a masterpiece. It might even disappoint some people, especially folks who want some kind of life-affirming miracle to unfold before them.
...Although the play is fictionalised, it is inspired by conversations that Fugard had with theatre legends Barney Simon and Yvonne Bryceland...
I personally felt that the first half was a bit flat. It didn’t help that the opening night felt slightly cagey...
The second half is an entirely different matter to the first, and even made me want to revisit the first act because of the light that gets shed on it by the second.
 There’s an insularity to the opening act, almost like the author is musing more to himself than with the audience, but it all somehow comes together with the much more formally inventive second half.
 Not only does it involve the spirits of the characters revisiting that fateful day of the first half when relationships were altered forever, it also features, like ‘Exits and Entrances’ from about five years ago, a stunningly performed monologue from one of Fugard’s favourite plays, ‘The Oresteia’ by Greek author Aeschylus.
... I have unreservedly enjoyed many of his works over the last number of years, especially the last play of his to be staged at the Fugard Theatre, ‘The Train Driver’. To me, many of these plays were as vibrant and brimming with life as many of his more well-known and celebrated works.
 The elegant second half of ‘The Bird Watchers’ is perhaps an indication that this master still has a few tricks up his sleeves.

The full text of the review is here
Posted by: Iain Fisher
« on: June 05, 2011, 02:07:19 PM »

An image from the play

More details are here
Posted by: listings
« on: January 26, 2011, 01:36:00 PM »

A new Fugard play, The Bird Watchers at the Fugard theatre from May 2011.
Details are here