Athol Fugard by Dennis Walder (auth.)

By Dennis Walder (auth.)

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Sample text

JOHNNY. Don't drag everything into the gutter with you, Queeny. QUEENY. I'm not the landlord of that strip of muck, Johnny. Everybody owns a plot down there. JOHNNY. So me of us try to crawl out of it. QUEENY. What do you think I've been doing for five years? It had ended, Johnny, it was dead and buried when you walked in here. But you won't let it stay that way, will you? You've performed a miracle, Johnny. The miracle of Jesus and the dead body. You've brought it back to life. The warmth of your hate, the breath of your disgust has got it living again.

Synge. 8 Like other writers to whom he was attracted at the time, such as William 23 Athol Fugard Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, the main signifieanee of Synge's work was that it eonfirmed the growing sense that he wanted to write drama that was, above all, Ioeal. But it was not until 1958, when the Fugards moved to Johannesburg, attraeted by the possibility of work in South Afr'ica's Iargest eity, that this instinct began to find its true inspiration. The Fugards were introduced to Sophiatown, the muItiraciai ghetto full of violence, energy and talent, by Benjamin Pogrund, a liberal journalist friend from Cape Town.

Liberals' are conspicuously absent, and most whites support the government and its apartheid policies. Blacks are left to extra-parliamentary forms of opposition, such as (increasingly) trade unions, and underground resistance. 'Can one be moved', asked Camus, 'by a city where nothing attracts the mind, where the very ugliness is anonymous, where the past is reduced to nothing? '2 All three 'Port Elizabeth' plays ex pose the bleakness, poverty and degradation of life in and around Port Elizabeth; all three also hint the possibility of survival, even joy.

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