26 February 2006

Space, time, and silence

Melbourne critic Chris Boyd talks with Athol Fugard:
Fugard modestly describes himself as a storyteller and, elegantly, describes theatre as one of the “unplugged” arts. Film, he writes, leaves him cold. “Theatre -- and I am a practitioner of the purest form of it, ‘poor theatre’ -- is unique among the live arts in what it occupies: the three dimensions of space and then time and then silence.”

Asked if he is ever frustrated that theatre reaches only a niche audience -- rarely the young and rarely the masses -- he responds: “I simply can’t equate significance with a body count. Theatre goes to work on the matrix of a society in a way that film, TV etc with their audience of millions, can never do. I know this for a fact because I saw it happen in South Africa. Could there conceivably be a greater piece of contemporary theatre than Nelson Mandela sitting down at a table with the men who took way from him the best 27 years of his life, and drawing up a blue print for a New South Africa? You do know don’t you that while he was in prison, Mandela play Creon in a production by prisoners of Sophocles Antigone?”

“There you have it,” he concludes. Leaving his computer and the satellite coverage of the cricket match between India and Pakistan, “I go back to my desk and the play I am writing.”
Also, more in-depth conversation with Fugard on ‘Tsotsi’, truth and reconciliation, Camus, Pascal and “courageous pessimism”.

(via you cried for night)

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