March 05, 2007

Exits & Entrances

I saw the world premiere of a South African play in LA a while back. Athol Fugard's EXITS AND ENTRANCES played at the very tiny Fountain Theatre. The play is autobiographical and interprets Fugard's friendship
with Andre Huguenet, an Afrikaans actor from Bloemfontein. Obviously, the backdrop is apartheid
South Africa and how each one tries to make sense of the circumstances they live in (a closet homosexual
Afrikaner actor and a playwright who wants to make a difference in his crazy country).

Great script, good performances - bummer neither actor
was South African or had ever been there. The actor
who played Fugard travelled the world DURING his
performance. He started somewhere in America with a
slight twang in his accent. Then he travelled to
Ireland and brought us the Northern and Southern Irish
accents in turn, passed through London's East End with
the Cockneys and brushed Australia on his way to New
Zealand, but somehow NEVER managed to come close to
South Africa! Well, I guess the route from the US via
the UK to NZ doesn't exactly pass by Africa. Although,
it was awesome how he managed to straddle several
continents in one sentence.

Obviously, your average theatre audience really knows
a good thing when they hear it because after the show
two girls dashed straight up to the actor and gushed,
" Your accent was GREAT!"
Thanks, but which one in particular?

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