Miners Alley Playhouse to Stage THE ROAD TO MECCA, 3/28-5/4
Award-winning South African playwright Athol Fugard tells the true story of Helen Martins, an eccentric elderly woman who is being pressured by her conservative village to abandon her art and enter a retirement home. Miss Helen's young friend Elsa comes to her aid in hopes of resisting the bullying attempts of Reverend Marius to uproot Helen from her home.
Miners Alley Playhouse presents "The Road to Mecca" March 28 through May 4 with performances every Friday and Saturday at 7:30.p.m. and Sunday's at 6:00 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sun., May 4). Tickets are $23 Adult, $20 Senior and Youth, $12 Children under 12 and are available by calling 303-935-3044 or online at minersalley.com Miners Alley Playhouse is located at 1224 Washington Avenue. Golden, CO 80401.
Helen Elizabeth Martins ('Miss Helen') is considered South Africa's foremost Outsider Artist. After her parent's death in the 1940's, Miss Helen became increasingly reclusive and began her life as an artist. What began as decoration soon developed into a fascination with the interplay of reflection and space, of light, dark, and different colors. When the interior of the house was completed Miss Helen transformed her garden into what became known as the Camel Yard. The Camel Yard is filled with biblical figures, Oriental saints, mystical symbols, mythical figures, birds, owls, mermaids, monsters, and castles made from cement, empty bottles, and pieces of glass, which all face east towards Mecca. She continued to create her "Mecca" until 1976, when she decided, in part due to her failing eyesight and arthritic hands, to end her own life. Her former home, The Owl House, is now a museum.
As a playwright, Athol Fugard had been subjected to government surveillance, restricted in his play development and travel by the South African government for createing confrontational theatre about the curse and price of apartheid both in South Africa and abroad. Like Tennessee Williams, Athol Fugard creates characters with strengths and weaknesses which make them unable to fit into what society requires. And like Williams the plays often have dominant women. Once identified by Time Magazine as "the greatest active playwright in the English - speaking world," Athol Fugard's best known plays include "The Blood Knot," "The Island," "Master Harold and the Boys," "A Lesson From Aloes" and "My Children! My Africa!"
Fugard says "[my] real territory as a dramatist is the world of secrets with their powerful effect on human behavior and the trauma of their revelation. Whether it is the radiant secret in Miss Helen's heart or the withering one in Boesman's or the dark and destructive one in Gladys, they are the dynamos that generate all the significant action in my plays".