note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
EXITS AND ENTRANCES (playing at New Repertory Theatre thru March 15th) is Athol Fugard’s heartfelt memoir of his early life in the theater. In music, the piece would be called an “album leaf.” Fugard has fashioned the work as an entry in his journal, a brief reflection on the time he met the Afrikaner Olivier, Andre Huguenet.
South Africa was turning a page, separating from Great Britain and entering the world stage as a republic… the same world which would speak out loudly, much, much later, against South Africa’s apartheid. This “leaf” in Fugard’s album takes place in the early sixties, before Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, around the time of the infamous Sharpeville massacre.
Ross MacDonald portrays the “author” as an amiable chap, full of hope and reverence ---and more than a bit impatient with the old guard. It’s a wry, understated turn. Will Lyman gives a seamless performance as the master interpreter of Shakespeare and Sophocles, flattered and amused by his young admirer. Lyman gives one of the most moving renderings of Hamlet’s suicide soliloquy I’ve experienced. He makes us contemplate every gorgeous phrase--- and he makes us understand what Huguenet feels as he realizes he is no longer important.
EXITS AND ENTRANCES is a thoughtful piece and all the better if you know BLOOD KNOT or A LESSON FROM ALOES. Even if you’re not familiar with Fugard’s work, director Chris Jorie celebrates the simple human affection at the heart of the play to show the stirrings of the great work to come.