Local Theatre Pairs With Education Without Borders
Hello and Goodbye is set in the home of a poor white family in 1960 in Apartheid South Africa. In a literary dance that steps between Beckett-like absurdity and the realism of Sam Shepard or Tennessee Williams, Fugard does a deep dive into a family torn apart by a toxic mix of self-loathing, lethal patriarchy, and the violence of the country in which it is set. The domestic collides with the political, as siblings Hester and Johnnie reconnect (and disconnect) in their childhood home, rummaging through the remnants of their lives in search of redemption, a father figure, legitimacy and cold, hard cash.
"The play is amazingly universal in its themes. While the forces of apartheid are pushed to the periphery, you can see how this police force regime still impacts the people who are supposed to benefit the most from it. They are completely torn apart, not just by their domestic situation but also the country at large. Amazing feminist themes are present with Hester, the sister, trying to create some agency for herself. This play resonates beyond the time and place its set in."
-Riaan Smit, playing Johnnie
Theatre has long been an instrumental part of both South Africa's complex history and young democracy, and was an active force in the dismantling of Apartheid's oppressive structures. Athol Fugard's work brought together racially diverse performers in theatre spaces, in a time and place when this simple act was illegal. A Room Somewhere believes that "To understand this legacy is to appreciate the full weight of what artistic practice is able to achieve as a means of bringing about societal change." A Room Somewhere's mandate is to bring this spirit of political dynamism to the theatre they produce. Their aim is to create theatre that encourages productive discomfort.
"Performing Hello and Goodbye in Vancouver is the ultimate opportunity for me to artistically bridge my two homes, providing me with the opportunity to kick up the dust of my history to see what it wants to reveal to me."
-Deborah Vieyra, playing Hester
A Room Somewhere was established in 2018 as a vehicle to produce esteemed South African playwright Athold Fugard's Hello and Goodbye for a Vancouver audience. The members of the collective are both of South African descent and, as professional theatre artists, see the artistic space as a means of fostering cross-cultural dialogue between the two countries that define home for them.
The collective members are Riaan Smit and Deborah Vieyra. Born in Canada from South African parents, Riaan studied in New York at the Atlantic Theatre Company Acting School. Deborah Vieyra, now a permanent resident of Canada, is South African, born and raised. She is a Fulbright alumna who completed her MA in Applied Theatre Arts at the University of Southern California. The production will be directed by celebrated South African theatre artist Bo Petersen, who herself acted in a production of the play in London. Hello and Goodbye marks Petersen's Canadian directorial debut.
"The story of Hello and Goodbye adds depth and breadth to my empathy and understanding of how brutal poverty is. How vicious the cycle is and with all the greatest of intentions it is a cycle hard to get out of." -Bo Petersen, Director
A Room Somewhere has partnered with Education Without Borders (EWB), a charitable organization working to improve the lives of disenfranchised youth in South Africa by building learning centres and funding educational programs. EWB also produce the Vancouver and Toronto South African Film Festivals, which both exist as fundraising initiatives for their philanthropic work. A Room Somehwere has a relationship with the founders and plans to collaborate with them through Hello and Goodbye's production and promotion to raise funds and awareness for EWB.
Artistic Team: Director Bo Petersen, Sound Designer Thomas Beckman, Set/Props Designer Kimira Bhikum, Lighting Designer Keagan Elrick, Stage Manager Olivia Etey, Cast and Producers Riaan Smit and Deborah Vieyra
Tickets Preview: $15 General: $25 Student/Senior: $22 Online at: https://bpt.me/4215631