Master Harold...and the Boysby Athol Fugard
The role that won Zakes Mokae a Tony Award brought Danny Glover back to the New York stage for the Roundabout Theatre's revival of this searing coming of age story, considered by many to be Fugard's masterpiece. A white teen who has grown up in the affectionate company of the two black waiters who work in his mother's tea room in
Drama / 3m (1 white, 2 black) / Int.
The role that won Zakes Mokae a Tony Award brought Danny Glover back to the New York stage for the Roundabout Theatre's revival of this searing coming of age story, considered by many to be Fugard's masterpiece. A white teen who has grown up in the affectionate company of the two black waiters who work in his mother's tea room in Port Elizabeth learns that his viciously racist alcoholic father is on his way home from the hospital. An ensuing rage unwittingly triggers his inevitable passage into the culture of hatred fostered by apartheid.
"One of those depth charge plays [that] has lasting relevance [and] can triumphantly survive any test of time...The story is simple, but the resonance that Fugard brings to it lets it reach beyond the narrative, to touch so many nerves connected to betrayal and guilt. An exhilarating play...It is a triumph of playmaking, and unforgettable."-New York Post
"Fugard creates a blistering fusion of the personal and the political."-The New York Times
"This revival brings out [the play's] considerable strengths."-New York Daily News
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Master Harold takes intimate conflict to describe the larger conflict of racism. The characters of Sam and Willie follow and break conventions of ¿the black man¿. Conventionally they are poor and uneducated, but unlike the stereotype of simple-mindedness, they are 3-dimensional, introspective, dignified characters. Hally, as a white man, is educated and has decent money, but he is less dignified than Sam or Willie as his capacity for hate and bitterness is much stronger. Athol Fugard has taken the sterotypes and inverted them upon themselves, showing how shallow they can truly be.
When Hally inevitably degrades and slurs Sam and Willie, Fugard is quick to point out that it is not because of what they have done, or even Hally¿s dislike of them. He directs the reader to Hally¿s struggle with his dad¿s inability to be a role model which creates the bitterness inside of Hally which is then released upon the two easiest targets: Sam and Willie. He knows he can do this because at the time, racism was an acceptable policy in South Africa.
This is what I find most interesting about the book. Most other novels about racism take on the broad view of racism in society, but Fugard brings it down to a personal level, and that is where racism is. Racism is a personal hate against certain peoples excused by stereotypes to allow the racist to feel powerful and justified in their hate. Fugard shows how the problem is not with the races, but how people deal with their hate and how they take it out on other people. Because of this unique view, I recommend this book to anyone who has experienced racism.
This is a great book! There are a lot of very interesting symbolism and metaphors. Very thought-provoking on racism and how it has changed since the time the book was written. Very good book!
This is a roller coaster of emotions that hits hard. Anyone who has ever experienced racism ought to read this, and anyone who thinks they've never encountered it--much less handed it out themselves, must read it!