About ‘The Graveyard’ showing at Hilton Arts Festival 17 & 18 September
Winner of a Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award at the 2016 National Arts Festival, The Graveyard garnered acclaim from audiences and critics alike for the audacity of its text and its high quality acting.
In The Graveyard, a young man returns to the basement of his childhood home. He whiles away the hours, drinking and waiting for someone to come looking for him. The basement is empty except for an old couch, a crate filled with bottles of alcohol, and a portrait of a man. It is the graveyard that holds the family’s secrets in its peeling walls and grimy floor – the secrets and ghosts that have sunk into the foundations of the house.
Through a series of musings, scenes, flashbacks, and interactions with his estranged sister and ghost-like ethereal mother, the man’s past and family life are uncovered: his father abused his mother, his sister left the house at sixteen, and he has been trying to cope with the events of years gone by through drinking. The piece weaves together the strands of the man’s life and teases apart notions of memory, masculinity and its pressures, domestic violence, addiction, heredity and, ultimately, family.
The Graveyard is a stripped-down reinterpretation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, about a society in decay and the sins of the past returning to haunt a mother and her son. Here, too, the family’s lot is decided in a final climactic encounter between mother and son.
It is written and directed by Philip Rademeyer, director and co-writer of Standard Bank Silver Ovation winner Siembamba and writer-director of Standard Bank Ovation winner Ashes and internationally award-winning The View.
The performers are Gideon Lombard, who has appeared on television (Suidooster, Black Sails), in theatre (…miskien, The View, David Kramer’s Orpheus in Africa, Moeder Moed en Haar Kinders) and is also a writer and director. Bo Petersen is an established actor in theatre, film and television (recent work includes Athol Fugard’s Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act and Standard Bank Ovation winner In The Wings). She has also directed the acclaimed productions Blackbird and Dead Yellow Sands. Sarah Potter, a rising star, completes the cast. She is best known for her role in Louis Viljoen’s The Pervert Laura.
Links to reviews
“It is this text that is a confirmation, if one were needed after The View and Ashes, that he is one of South Africa’s greatest contemporary playwrights” David Fick, BroadwayWorld, 5 July 2016 http://www.broadwayworld.com/south-africa/article/BWW-Review-Magnificent-THE-GRAVEYARD-Confirms-Philip-Rademeyer-as-One-South-Africas-Greatest-Contemporary-Playwrightsat-NAF16-20160705
“As usual, Rademeyer has delivered a work that disturbs our complacency and is supreme in making audiences think about what’s urgently important in our world today.” Sarah Roberson, The Critter, 4 July 2016 http://thecritter.co.za/the-graveyard/
“Throughout, the performances are strong and emotionally charged without being dreary. It helps that the script is brilliantly written in its detailing of the pathology of domestic violence.” Thato Tsotetsi, Artsvark, 4 July 2016 http://artsvark.co.za/national-arts-festival-2016-the-graveyard/
“The play had audiences leaving the venue slightly shell-shocked and many remarking on the audacity of the text and the high quality of the acting.” Tracey Saunders, Cape Times, 10 Jul 2016 http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/ovation-winners-announced-2043771
Pics of Gideon Lombard, Bo Petersen & Sarah Potter. By Maggie Gericke.