Mies Julie - the undisputed smash hit of the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which amassed an unrivalled 10 five star reviews, a clutch of prestigious awards and a breathless supply of superlatives throughout the summer - is heading to London for a limited season, it certainly sounds like a definite must see!In a contemporary reworking of Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie, internationally acclaimed adaptor/director Yael Farber has ingeniously transposed this 1888 parable of class and gender to a remote, bleak farm in modern day South Africa’s Cape Karoo. Both play and setting brilliantly illuminate each other, creating a newly menacing, torridly passionate, urgently relevant allegory for a post-apartheid state in profound transition.Against the pulsating, poignant backdrop of the annual Freedom Day celebrations, Xhosa farm labourer John and Mies Julie, the daughter of his white Afrikaans master, embark on a ruinous night, fuelled by drink, heat, generation-deep resentments and earthy, brutal, primal passion. Christine, meanwhile - cleverly recast as his mother and Julie’s childhood nurse - continues to scrub the floor as three generations of her family have: a manifest emblem of the old regime, her very fingerprints worn away by servitude.In the sweltering heat of her kitchen, pots bubble threateningly, a fan spins ineffectually, sexual tension builds dangerously and into the whole volatile brew are thrown all the explosive, unresolved legacies of the apartheid era: race, power, land restitution and ancestral rights, all distilled into one shocking moment.Not since the storm of controversy caused by the interracial kiss in the Baxter Theatre Centre1985 production of Miss Julie, has the play regained its potential to shock, commentate and protest so powerfully.Co-produced by Assembly and Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre Centre in association with the South African State Theatre, Mies Julie ran at the Assembly Festival during the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of their highly successful South African Season. From here it scooped one of the The Scotsman’s Fringe Firsts, a coveted Herald Angel and the Best of Edinburgh Award and was shortlisted for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award.A truly outstanding South African cast comprises Fleur Du Cap award-winner Bongile Mantsai as John, South African television veteran Thokozile Ntshinga playing Christine and Hilda Cronje as Julie. They are joined by on-stage musician and singer Thandiwe Nofirst Lungisa from the Ngoko Cultural Group, creating an evocative soundtrack of Xhosa music performed with traditional regional instruments, overlaid by a sinister soundscape created by Daniel and Matthew Pencer. Set design is by Patrick Curtis, lighting is by Paul Adams and the assistant director is Zoleka Helesi. Director Yael Farber is internationally admired for her socio-politically hard-hitting works, often updating classic texts: notably SeZar (2001), her African adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Kadmos, from Sophocles’ Theban Plays, MoLoRa (2007), a radical reworking of the Oresteia Trilogy, which again looks at the South Africa’s dark legacy and a forthcoming reworking of King Lear, set in the Middle East. Her stage productions are created and tour under The Farber Foundry founded in 2004Farber has worked extensively at the renowned Market Theatre in Johannesburg, including an acclaimed production of Shopping and Fucking which scooped a total of seven prestigious National Vita Awards including one of her three Best Director awards. Her truly international CV includes Amajuba (2001), Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye, her own play Woman in Waiting (1999), which won a clutch of awards, including a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and a Gold Sony Award for Radio Drama for the BBC recording of the piece. Farber is currently Head of the Directing Programme at the National Theatre School in Montreal, Canada.Following its huge success in Edinburgh Mie Julie will play a limited season at St Ann’s Warehouse in New York from November to December 2012, then at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg in January and February prior to its London transfer.
Adapted from August Strindberg’s Miss Julie and directed by Yael Farber
Crisp Road, Hammersmith, W6 9RL
Thursday 7th March to Sunday 19th May 2013
For more info, see www.miesjulie.com and