PLAYLAND to Open 23 January at Fugard Studio Theatre

The 2014 Suidoosterfees boasts a play, which South African theatre and film great John Kani once described as 'the first reconciliation production performed in South Africa'. Athol Fugard's powerful two-hander PLAYLAND will be performed in Afrikaans with English surtitles at the Fugard Studio Theatre from 23 January to 15 February 2014.

The production is sponsored by Naspers. Saartjie Botha has translated the script, and Albert Maritz will direct the production that features Mbulelo Grootboom (WHITE WEDDING, STOKVEL, BURNT) and AlBert Pretorius (MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, BALBESIT, THOM PAIN).

PLAYLAND depicts what happens when the two extreme opposites in a bloody war are brought within reach of each other. It is Old Year's Eve in 1990 when Gideon le Roux (Pretorius), an ex-national serviceman who is slightly inebriated, meets Martinus Zoeloe (Grootboom) at a fairground in the country. Martinus is the security guard at the fair, and an ex-SWAPO fighter. His dark secrets were securely locked away, or at least this is what he thought. Gideon is a damaged man who carries deep hurt. He is a product of his time, with much potential of being a compassionate human being. Martinus is a warrior, a gentleman, a good husband, and a black man during a dark period in South Africa's history. All of this is set during a time in South Africa when things were - in a different way than today - not what they should have been.

Fugard is widely regarded as South Africa's greatest living playwright who, for many decades, has been contributing significantly to the cultural landscape of South African theatre. A multitude of his works has garnered local and international acclaim. In 2011, Fugard was honoured internationally when he received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in New York at the 65th Annual Tony Awards. Fugard himself describes PLAYLAND as 'the most emotionally exhausting play (he has) ever written'.

Director Maritz grew up in radio studios, behind stages and in his dad's dark room developing rolls of film. He became a teacher, an actor, a director and a producer of progressive work, always with his simple, but effective lighting designs woven into the shows. He involves his unique style to breathe new life into classical Afrikaans works of the past, such as FAAN SE TREIN (KKNK and Aardklop - Most Popular Production, 2005), FAAN SE STASIE (KKNK, Aardklop, Innibos, Artscape and Durbanville, 2006), TARABOEMDERY (Innibos - Best Artist, 2010), 'N SEDAR VAL IN WATERKLOOF (Innibos - Most Popular Production, 2011), MOOI MARIA (Aardklop - Best Director, Best Actress and Best Afrikaans Production, 2011), DIE REBELLIE VAN LAFRAS VERWEY (Fleur du Cap - Best Director, Best Actor and Most Popular Production, 2011) and most recently DIE VAN AARDES VAN GROOTOOR (Innibos, KKNK and Durbanville). He appears in films opposite international film stars, but as an actor he is best known as Herman in the TV series KONINGS EN TORINGS and for the TV commercial with the trunk of an elephant around his neck. Of Fugard, he says,'His work is filled with symbols; a poetic mirror simply dressed as a story, with rich, meaningful characters.'

PLAYLAND tickets, ranging from R120 to R150, are available through the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or Computicket. Performances run from Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm and on Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm. Friends of the Fugard receive the usual excellent discounts when booking through the box office. There is plenty of secure parking for patrons on Harrington Square on Caledon Street and when the weather allows, the stunning rooftop terrace bar, with its 360 degree view of the city and mountain, is open before and after each performance.

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