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Mies Julie a savage portrait of primitive desires and social disease.Mies Julie, a powerful, naturalistic drama of violent beauty set among the arid, semi-desert lands of the Karoo in South Africa that paints a savage portrait of primitive desires and social disease.
“For the great ages tragedy is not an expression of despair but the means by which they saved themselves from it. It is a profession of faith...a way of looking at life by virtue of which it is robbed of its pain.”
Joseph Wood Krutch.
Running from the 24th of April to the 3rd of May at la Cinquieme Salle, La Place des Arts presents:
Mies Julie, a powerful, naturalistic drama of violent beauty set among the arid, semi-desert lands of the Karoo in South Africa that paints a savage portrait of primitive desires and social disease.
A contemporary reworking of August Strindberg’s 1888 Miss Julie ( Swedish Fröken Julie), Award winning director and writer Yaël Farber, one of the major voices of contemporary South Africa, moves the story to a desolate farmstead in the vast plains of the Karoo. The land of these farmsteads continues to be worked on by the descendants of the originally dispossessed and owned and run by the inheritors of those who first claimed stake to the plains. She re-contextualizes Julie as the strong-willed, white daughter of a land owner and John as the ambitious son of her father's African servant. Set eighteen years post- apartheid, Farber wove in themes of racial violence and miscegeny, but remains true to the original storyline and themes of Strindberg.
The play opens on the tiled floor kitchens of Mies Julie’s father’s fictitious homestead Veenen Plaas (“Weeping farm”). A tree has its roots firmly planted between the tiles. We hear the South African chants of a white faced ancestor (Tandiwe Nofirst Lungisa) bowing a traditional stringed instrument. Her ghostly appearance puts weigh on the significance of the land beneath the actors’ feet.
Julie (Hilda Cronje), enters the kitchen restless and barefooted. Slightly tipsy and wishing to escape her constricted existence, she spies John (Bongile Mantsai) polishing her father’s shoes. With a commanding voice she orders him to drink and dance with her at the servants' annual party. Raised by John’s black mother Christine (Zoleka Helesi) after her birth mother’s suicide and left to run wild among the plains, Julie is a confused individual. She is aware of the power she holds over John as both a woman and as his employer’s daughter, but switches between being above the servants and flirting with John. What follows is a power battle for control and possession that spirals downwards into tragedy.
There will be blood ...buckets of it that do not fail in spilling over and leaving hard evidence of drama all over the tiled floors...
A production of the Baxter Theater Center at the University of Cape Town, the play enjoys strong acting and personification from the dynamic cast and musicians. Together, the two leads paint a desolate picture of youths tormented by issues of class, lust, love, race, politics, land ownership and the interaction among them.
A raw battle of the sexes with graphic imagery and prose, Mies Julie is a tale certainly not for the faint of heart...
Currently running from the 24th of April to the 3rd of May at la Cinquième Salle of La Place des Arts.
In English with French subtitles
Warning : Nudity, Violence and Blood
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