‘Master Harold’ comes to KCAT in Sept.


Kansas City Actors Theatre announces cast and creative staff for Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold” …and the Boys

 Kansas City Actors Theatre has completed casting for its production of Athol Fugard’s “’Master Harold’ …and the Boys,” which will run from September 11 to September 29, 2019 at the City Stage in Union Station. The production will be directed by Kansas City Actors Theatre artistic committee member Gary Heisserer and featureco-founder Walter Coppage, Khalif Gillett, and Arthur Clifford. The production will be assistant directed by Marisa Tejeda and will also feature scenic design by Gary Mosby, costumes by Jordan New, lighting design by Kris Kirkwood, sound design by Jonathan Robertson, properties designs by Deb Morgan, and technical direction by Kyle Dyck.

 Athol Fugard, an esteemed South African playwright, is a six-time Tony nominee and recipient of the Tony Lifetime Achievement Award. His Drama Desk Award-winning “’Master Harold’ …and the Boys” is often regarded as one of esteemed South African playwright Athol Fugard’s best works. The story is highly autobiographical, set in a tea room of 1950 apartheid-era Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A rainy day is spent between two black waiters, Sam and Wille, and the white, teenaged Hally, whose parents own the restaurant. Sam and Willie have acted as father figures to Hally throughout his life in place of the strained relationship with his own father. What begins as a relaxing and playful rainy afternoon slowly turns into something much darker as years of building trust, friendship, and respect is put on the line. Is Hally doomed to be the product of generational and institutionalized racism?

Kansas City Actors Theatre has produced Fugard plays twice before, with “A Lesson From Aloes” in 2008 and “The Island” in 2016. KCAT founding member Walter Coppage, who plays Sam, in “’Master Harold’… and the Boys,” directed “The Island,” and starred in “A Lesson From Aloes,” has been involved in all three Fugard productions.

Kansas City Actors Theatre is eager to produce such a critically-acclaimed play that includes themes that parallel our world today. “’Master Harold’ is one of the great plays of the 20th century,” says director Gary Heisserer. “It gives us a penetrating look at the personal birthright of racism and bigotry, passed down through generations until something – or someone – more powerful helps us shed those behaviors and beliefs. It reveals how dignity can empower us and those around us and how cruelty crushes not just its victims but also its perpetrators. And it does all of this through storytelling without an ounce of sermonizing.”

“’Master Harold’ …and the Boys” was originally banned in South Africa because it featured a mixed race cast and became Fugard’s first play to premiere outside of South Africa. It first premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1982 before transferring to Broadway a few months later. The play was a tremendous success and won Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Best Play and Best Director and won the Drama Desk Award for Best Play. It was revived on Broadway in 2003 in a production that was directed by Lonny Price, who played Hally in the ’82 US premiere and featured Danny Glover as Sam, played Willie alongside Price.

 “’Master Harold’…and the Boys” will be presented at the City Stage in Union Station from September 11 to 29. Previews will start on Wednesday, September 11 with Opening Night on Saturday, September 14. Audience Talkbacks will follow performances on Sunday, September 15; Wednesday, September 18; and Friday, September 27.

 Tickets are available by contacting the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222 or online at  http://www.kcactors.org/shows/master-harold-and-the-boys/.

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