Fugard classic shows a bygone era at Playhouse

Ready to re-open after the looming lockdown, The Hottentots Holland Dramatic Society is proud to present Athol Fugard’s comic drama, People Are Living There, directed by Darryl Spijkers.

Set in a boarding house in 1969, the play centres on landlady Milly (Rone Frylinck), whose 10-year romantic relationship with one of her boarders, Ahlers, has just come to a messy end.

While her former lover is out on a date with a younger woman, Milly decides to throw an impromptu party to celebrate her 50th birthday.

She convinces boarders Don (Thomas Agates) and Shorty (Hugo Botha) to go along with her; the idea is that she’ll make Ahlers (who we never see) extremely jealous that she’s having a good time without him.

The play explores the sense of isolation that these three characters feel.

Don is supposedly studying for a business degree but seems more interested in reading psychological texts and practicing armchair psychology on his housemates.

He’s something of a shut-in, so it’s difficult for Milly to drag him out of his room, much less get him to participate in her party.

Shorty, on the other hand, is an eager young lad, but a bit of a simpleton. He’s married to fellow boarder Sissy (Tanya Erasmus), but it’s doubtful that the two have ever consummated their relationship.

Rather than spend time with her husband, Sissy goes out with other men.

Zanodean Cassiem has created a squalid set of bold blues that breaks the lines of realism to highlight the glum environment these characters live in.

Marvellously evocative of a bygone era, the set boasts six windows, in a deliberate ploy to remind the audience and the characters of the world beyond “the four walls”.

“The play is Fugards’ serving of existentialism, absurd theatre, realism and symbolism all in one it makes us think – about who were, where we are going, about if we are happy and how happiness can be defined as we face bold challenges.

“It is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s, when Yvonne Bryceland first to stepped into the role of Milly. You will love it,” says Darryl.

Through this production, The Playhouse continues to serve the community as they actively raise funds to improve the facility and keep the theatre open.

“We hope to see many volunteers at The Playhouse, as restrictions lift further. With the High School Drama Festival, The Musical Songbook and Annie The Musical, there is something for everyone to see in what is left of this year,” adds Darryl.

Tickets at Computicket, and social distancing measures are in place. There are seven shows, from Saturday October 3 to Saturday October 17.

For more information, visit The Playhouse at www.theplayhouse.org.za

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