The woman with a baby on her back

Drama • Running Time: 60 mins
Written by Athol Fugard | Performed by Pieter van Zyl | Directed by Thomas Leabhart

This one man play is a stage adaptation of Athol Fugard's riveting short story 'To whom it MUST concern'. It portrays the quest of a Karoo train driver, after his life is derailed by a tragic event. The play was awarded the Patrick Mynhardt prize for best production at the Fugard Festival (Richmond).

'The woman with a baby on her back' is the result of a collaboration between Pieter van Zyl (actor) and Thomas Leabhart (director and senior professor in drama at the Pomona College, California). The play was given its first performances at the Seaver Theatre, California to an international audience. The success of these performances is testament to the universal and deeply human message of the play. The run at the Alexander Theatre pays homage to Athol Fugard who turns 85 in June 2018.

Fugard's short story 'To whom it MUST concern' forms the basis of his play 'The Train Driver'. When Pieter van Zyl (actor) and Thomas Leabhart (director) approached Fugard and asked his permission to make an entirely new stage adaptation of his short story - this time for a one man performance - Fugard re-acted with enthusiasm and generosity. The result is a play that is new and original. Neither actor nor director has seen or read 'The Train Driver'.

Athol Fugard is one of South Africa's most esteemed playwrights. He is also known for the 2005 Academy Award-winning film of his novel Tsotsi. The recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, Fugard is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Pieter van Zyl (actor) has studied acting at the Akademie of Dramakuns where he was taught by Babs Laker. He continued his theatre studies in London, Paris and California, specializing in the corporeal mime technique of Etienne Decroux. In London, as a member of Theatre de l'Ange Fou, he performed 'Entangled Lives (Tardieux) and 'The Government Inspector (Gogol); and in California in 'Spoonriver Anthology' (Masters), 'Maid to Marry' (Ionesco). In South Africa he created plays that were much influenced by his study of corporeal mime: 'On a green footpath', 'BREAD' and 'When the Saints go marching in'. For the Spier production of 'The Great Gatsby' by Peter Joucla, he played the character of Wilson. Pieter recently recorded a reading of Carina Stander's novel 'Die Bergengel' for RSG radio. Pieter also has a Master's degree in music and continues to work as a musician.

Thomas Leabhart (director) is Professor of Theatre and Resident Artist at the Pomona College, Claremont. He frequently teaches and performs in Europe, Asia and North and South America. His specific area of scholarship is Etienne Decroux, with whom he studied from 1968 - 1972. Thomas Leabhart is a much published writer on the subject of corporeal mime.

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Under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, or by an adult with consent from a parent or guardian.
Seating is unreserved. All the seats are good seats but please arrive in good time to make sure you can sit together.
Also we unfortunately don’t have any wheelchair access to our theatre. There is 1 flight of steps.