Monday, April 14, 2014
"THE SHADOW OF THE HUMMINGBIRD" CREATES A SENSE OF WONDER
A special bond often exists between grandparents and grandchildren, a relationship that is precious and dear and may have entirely skipped the generation in between. Ask a grandparent about their offspring and bragging rights ensue as does a stream of photographs, now on their SmartPhone rather than from their wallet.
Come and meet a grandfather, Oupa, and his delightful grandson, Boba, as they share their love for each other and hopes for the future in the world premiere play "The Shadow of the Hummingbird" by famed South African playwright Athol Fugard on Stage II of New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre until Sunday, April 27. This is but the newest in Athol Fugard's stable of almost three dozen works. Not only has he written it, but he also stars as Oupa, after an absence from the stage for over a decade and a half.
Eugene Lee's inviting study set welcomes us to "The Shadow of the Hummingbird," as a virtual tribute to the art work of ornithologist John James Audubon, a man obsessed with faithfully creating painted portraits of these feathered beauties. An aging Oupa has always loved these flying creatures and, in fact, has recorded his impressions and sightings of them and of life in general in dozens of notebooks he has penned over his lifetime.
This gentle and philosophical play opens with his searching for a particular passage, to a reference to a hummingbird's elusive shadow as it flits, reflceting against his study's back wall. This introductory scene has been written by Paula Fourie from Athol Fugard's actual unpublished notebooks.
Ou[a's precocious grandson Boba bursts into the quiet room, with imaginary sword posed to strike, as the pair playact slaying imaginary dragons and monsters. Their special loving bond is evident in their words and actions as they meet in secret. Oupa's son and Boba's father, one and the same man, has forbidden their relationship but they are willing to risk his ire. Gordon Edelstein directs this poignant moment in time with the love and caring it deserves. This gentle interlude in time is 60 minutes, without an intermission.
For tickets ($40-70), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-3787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are
Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Come witness the energetic interactions of a master, Athol Fugard, as he gives life lessons on alternating performances to amazing twin fifth graders Aidan and Dermot McMillan from Middletown as Boba. Learn how to catch the hummingbird's fleeting shadow.