Drama • Running Time: 130 mins
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks | Directed by Mdu Kweyama | Performed by Marty Kintu & Daniel Richards | Presented by Alexander Upstairs
Mature Themes

Alexander Upstairs is proud to present the South African premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog. Described by The New York Times as “a deeply theatrical experience” it’s a play that tells the story of brothers named Lincoln and Booth – their father’s idea of a joke. Lincoln works in an arcade as his namesake – dressing in whiteface – pretending to watch his final play as customers shoot toy guns at him. He’s underpaid, but clings to the job for fears of being replaced by a wax dummy. His brother, Booth, shoplifts and dreams of running a three-card monte game on the street like his brother used to do, all with the goal of impressing the girl of his dreams.

Topdog/Underdog looks at the sibling dynamic – the older brother who feels saddled with responsibility, the younger who felt he never had a chance to shine – but also looks at the bigger themes of family, connection, and, in Parks’ words, “who the world thinks you’re going to be, and how you struggle with that.”

The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2002, and was described by the Pulitzer committee as “a darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity”.

This is the first time that Alexander Upstairs will host a two act play and have it in residence for the duration of the run, as opposed to its usual rotating schedule. Jon Keevy, the theatre manager, says “Alexander Upstairs is excited to present this great American text. While our stages are teeming with local productions of West End and Broadway shows, very few of these are from the African Diaspora – that’s a shame, because black excellence needs to connect, needs to be shared, and not overshadowed by another production of Pinter."

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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.