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South African playwright Hannah Meade arrives in London for the opening night of her new play. She has arranged to meet Pierre, the student she was in love with when she taught English in Paris. During their time together, they lied their way towards truths they were too young and inexperienced to endure. Perhaps this time they will have a second chance.
As the reader is drawn from contemporary London back to Paris on the eve of the war in Iraq, the mystery of past events is brought to vivid life in a series of dramatic, intriguing and deeply moving encounters. Written in layered, stark prose, The White Room lays bare many of our assumptions about language, identity, memory, loss and love.
‘Craig Higginson is at the vanguard of the latest and most exciting novelists in South Africa, both robust and sensitive, offering a barometer of the best to be expected from the newest wave of writing in the country.’ – André Brink
‘In its conception and execution, The White Room is remarkable ... Evocative and dreamlike, yet all too nightmarishly real, this is a story so moving that it leaves a powerful afterimage on the reader’s imagination.’ – Craig Mackenzie
It is summer in Stratford-upon-Avon. Thomas is a young theatre director at the Royal Shakespeare Company who is desperately in love with Lucy, the leading actress in a production of The Tempest. Their experiences are woven into the life of a theatre presided over by Harry, an ageing South African exile who becomes caught up in a history he sought to escape. Hilarious and deeply affecting by turn, Thomas’s account is compelling in its lyricism, eccentricity and energetic attachment to life. Through him, we get to meet a colourful cast of characters and live through the gripping events of an ill-fated summer in Stratford.
Craig Higginson's first three plays for adult audiences - collected here in one volume - represent one of the strongest debuts in contemporary South African theatre. Although each can be seen as a variation on the theme of the post-apartheid state of the nation play, they are also engaged with realities in Zimbabwe, the Congo and contemporary Europe. Higginson's experience of growing up in wartorn Zimbabwe and apartheid South Africa have given him a deeprooted and potent angle from which to dramatize a dialogue between Europe and Africa. As British director Jeremy Herrin has noted in his Foreword: `The pairing of delicate psychology and considered plot allow the plays to move beyond the realism of their settings into a bespoke theatrical landscape, a place where the contradictions and messiness of contemporary life hold themselves up for inspection.'
It is winter in London in 1947. When Arthur Bailey, an elderly painter who lives alone, catches sight of a young woman, Felicity, about to move into the neighbouring bed-sit, he is stirred to recall in haunting detail a long-suppressed narrative. The landscape painter is a double tale of obsession, betrayed trust and irrepressible hope, which emerges as Arthur's story unfolds. As a young, brilliant landscape painter he travelled to South Africa in 1898 in pursuit of his best friend’s sister, the beautiful and mysterious Carwyn Hamilton. Carwyn’s subsequent shocking betrayal led Arthur down a dark path of humiliation and haunted him for the next fifty years. As Arthur delves ever deeper into his most intimate thoughts and desires, the past and present come together in a series of surprising turns and parallels and we meet a range of memorable characters – from the malevolent German governess, Miss Klimt, to Carwyn’s flirtatious and increasingly senile grandmother, Mutti. Finally, Arthur is forced to confront Felicity with the irreducible damage done to him. From the gold-crazed streets of early Johannesburg to the epic battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War, and the austerity of post-Second World War Britain.
A farmhouse is being reproduced a dozen times, with slight variations, throughout a valley. Three small graves have been dug in the front garden, the middle one lying empty. A woman in a wheelchair sorts through boxes while her husband clambers around the old demolished buildings, wondering where the animals have gone. A young woman – called ‘the barren one’ behind her back – dreams of love, while an ageing headmaster contemplates the end of his life. At the entrance to the long dirt driveway, a car appears and pauses – pointed towards the house like a silver bullet, ticking with heat.
So begins The Dream House, Craig Higginson’s riveting and unforgettable novel set in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. Written with dark wit, a stark poetic style and extraordinary tenderness, this is a story about the state of a nation and a deep meditation on memory, ageing, meaning, family, love and loss.
This updated 2016 edition contains new content, with Craig Higginson exploring the background to The Dream House, his varied experiences in a farmhouse in KwaZulu-Natal and the subsequent and poignant motivations for this moving novel.
The first collection of plays from the acclaimed author and playwright. Includes Dream of the Dog, The Girl in the Yellow Dress, The Imagined Land and The Red Door.
"A group of friends who were at school together decide to spend the night in some underground caves that are part of the Cradle of Humankind network, thirty miles outside of Johannesburg. The oldest pre-human remains have been found there, including a three million year old hominin called Little Foot. As the group go deeper into the caves, and their ancient history emerges, forces are unleashed between them and around them that appear to have tragic consequences. Part realism, part nightmare, acclaimed South African playwright Craig Higginson's play takes us on an unforgettable journey into our unconscious ancestral memory. Little Foot was originally commissioned by the National Theatre for the Connections 2012 festival. Published here is an extended version Craig Higginson wrote for the Grahamstown Main Festival (2012) and the Market Theatre, Johannesburg."
Based on a version by Tim Supple, this adaptation was first staged
South African writer Craig Higginson's powerful new play is a dark, witty and sexually-charged psychological drama told through the eyes of a beautiful English teacher and her French-Congolese pupil. A 'state of the nation' exploration of the tensions between the first and third worlds the play explores issues around language, power, identity, sex, past trauma, class, exile and refugees. An exciting new co-production from the internationally-renowned Market Theatre from South Africa and two of the UK's most prestigious theatre companies. This gripping two-hander is a highlight of the Traverse programme. Higginson packs a lot in under the seemingly innocuous guise of a young English woman giving language lessons to a French-Congolese student in contemporary Paris -- Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard
Set amongst the expatriate Irish community of New York as they try to raise money for NORAID, the charitable organization often accused of being an IRA front. New York fire fighters of Irish descent give money to NORAID, along comes 9/11, and several die at the hands of a terrorist group.
Patricia and Richard Wiley, an elderly white couple, are interrupted by the arrival of a young man who used to be one of the black workers on their farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands - until he disappeared fifteen years before. Something terrible happeend before he left. Everyone has a different memory of this event, and as the different versions of their shared histories are unravelled, these have shocking ramifications for their lives today.The play provides a complex analysis of South Africa's emerging democracy, and its continued negotiation with its past. This critically acclaimed new play takes an unflinching look at the twin mantras of the post Mandela era: reconciliation and forgiveness, and asks whehter it is possible for black and white South Africans to live together equally and peacefully.
This brilliant new collection of ten plays for young people will prove indispensable to schools, colleges and youth theatre groups. Specially commissioned by the National Theatre for the Connections Festival 2012 involving 200 schools and youth theatre groups across the UK and Ireland, each play is accompanied by production notes and exercises. Power struggles, rites of passage, love and forbidden relationships are some of the rich themes that run through the 2012 cycle of plays. Some are deeply funny, some are provocative and some reflective; and one has really catchy songs! For the 2012 Festival, the anthology has an international feel and offers a window on the world. It includes from Australia a play based on a nineteenth century court case in which a teenage girl was falsely convicted; from Brazil a drama about young lovers doomed to tragedy; set in Russia, a play exploring differing attitudes to National Service and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991; a drama about students' rights to an education and the Cultural Revolution of 1966 in China; and a comedy involving a group of Irish country girls travelling to London to audition for the X-Factor.
It is summer in Stratford-upon-Avon. Thomas is a young theatre director at the Royal Shakespeare Company who is desperately in love with Lucy, the leading actress in a production of The Tempest. Their experiences are woven into the life of a theatre presided over by Harry, an ageing South African exile who becomes caught up in a history he sought to escape. Hilarious and deeply affecting by turn, Thomas's account is compelling in its lyricism, eccentricity and energetic attachment to life. Through him, we get to meet a colourful cast of characters and live through the gripping events of an ill-fated summer in Stratford.
A fusion of boyhood innocence, ancient lore and the harsh reality of adult life, love and betrayal. The Hill is at times hauntingly realistic, a story with which many can identify - achingly sad and heart-warming by turns. Set in a boarding school in the Drakensberg in the early '80s it tells the tale of an 11-year-old boy with an unusual bond with nature and the supernatural. Haunted by dreams of creatures conjured by San mythology and encouraged by the enthusiastic teachings of an over-friendly school teacher. Excluded from his home, Andrew makes this his new home. He is popular and somewhat of a daredevil but will escape to the surrounding bush at any opportunity to explore and listen to nature's teachings. Until a shadow falls, darkening his new life too. Afraid and unsure of how to cope he withdraws from the web being spun around him and seeks solace among the ancient figures of the caves. This exploration of blurred boundaries, overturned trust and child abuse would be sad were it not for Andrew's emotional resourcefulness. Higginson weaves a tale of obsession and trauma that will haunt you long after you have read the final page.
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