Lantern Theater Company to Present THE TRAIN DRIVER, 4/10-5/4
Lantern Theater Company closes their 20th anniversary season with the Philadelphia premiere of The Train Driver, one of South African playwright Athol Fugard's newest plays. This will be the Lantern's fourth production of works by the 2011 Tony Award-winner for Lifetime Achievement, including "Master Harold"...and the boys in 2006, Sizwe Bansi Is Dead in 2009 and The Island in 2012. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times described The Train Driver as "a moving portrait of a man coming to recognize the deep divisions that still plague his country, and makes a modest but eloquent addition to Mr. Fugard's oeuvre." Directed by Matt Pfeiffer and starring respected Philadelphia veteran actor Peter DeLaurier as Roelf and Kirk Wendell Brown in his Lantern debut as Simon, performances run April 10 - May 4, 2014.
Based on a shocking and surprisingly common true story of suicide by train in South Africa, The Train Driver is an emotional exploration of the legacy of apartheid. Roelf (DeLaurier), the title train driver, is haunted by the unpreventable role he played in a woman and her child's suicide, and his guilt compels him to find the woman's grave so he can say his peace to her. A meditation on grief, Roelf finds himself turning the corner from anger and suffering to empathy.
At its heart, The Train Driver is about understanding and reveals a playwright at the height of his power to move and inspire. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Athol Fugard said, "This is for me the whole; it's my truth and reconciliation. I think all of my writing life led up to the writing of The Train Driver because it deals with my own inherited blindness and guilt and all of what being a white South African in South Africa during those apartheid years meant."
Director Matt Pfeiffer also sees The Train Driver as an exploration of understanding someone else's reality. "I'm an optimistic person, I can't imagine hopelessness. Hopelessness as a reality of life is unexplainable to a person who lives in hope," says Pfeiffer. "What Fugard is able to do with this work is create a story that is beautifully written and poetic, using suffering as a raw material and raising it to extraordinary art in a way that renders the audience more alive, more human, more sympathetic in the process."
The Train Driver runs April 10 - May 4, 2014 (press opening: Wednesday, April 16, 7 p.m.). Tickets are $20 - $38 and are available online at lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. $10 student rush tickets are available 10 minutes before curtain with valid ID; cash only. Additional discounts are available for seniors, groups of 10 or more and U.S. military personnel. Lantern Theater Company is located at St. Stephen's Theater, 10th & Ludlow Streets in Center City Philadelphia.