"a stunning and evocative set"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 10/03/19

It is as well for us all to learn another lesson - not from Aloes but from Athol Fugard.

He writes about the terrible thing called Apartheid that existed in South Africa.

This is the first time this play has been performed for 35 years and it concerns three people who are deeply embroiled in the struggle for the independence of black people in South Africa during this appalling regime.
The play is set in the house of a white couple. Piet seems obsessed with the plants he keeps, taking care of them almost like children. They are aloes of various species, all with long Latin names . He has a learned book about them which he consults constantly.

His wife. Gladys, who has had a nervous breakdown due to the constraints of the government. She is pure white, not allowed to go into the sun since she had a bad case of sunburn as a child and was covered in calamine lotion. She longs to live in England, she is unhappy in South Africa even though she is born there, she feels that England is her home
Piet has invited his friend Steve and his family round for supper, as they leaving for England for ever the following week. Steve is a coloured man, so he does not belong with the white fraternity .But his friend Piet has fought on the side of non segregation which led to him losing his business with his black employees and friends. He was closest with Steve, who has spent some time in prison convicted as an activist for black liberation..
Gladys is still not mentally well. The couple have seen nobody for a long time. Piet has been shunned by the neighbourhood having been accused of informing on Steve. All she has is the new diary he bought her. The old one was confiscated. He is alone with his aloes. They are symbol to him of free growth.

They are excited that they will be seeing their friends for supper and Gladys has devised a cold meal with jelly and cream for the children. Steve arrives alone and the drama ensues, the loyalties, the disasters caused by the situation they are living in.

The set by Norman Coates is stunning and evocative. The garden, with a front porch to the concealed indoor living area, but showing the bedroom, a wall of corrugated iron between the houses giving it a shack like appearance.. . Manni Manin supplies sunshine lighting and the play is sympathetically directed by Janet Suzman - a director who knows the subject from personal experience.

It is a very appropriate play for the Stand up to Racism demonstrations this month.

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