Thursday, January 28, 2010

Learning Metaphors

'Master Harold' ...
and the Boys

by Athol Fugard

"a world without collisions . . ."

Once again I viewed an excellent production of a Tony Award-winning play at TimeLine Theatre Company. Athol Fugard's Harold and the Boys premiered on Broadway in May of 1982. The current production at TimeLine Theatre is directed by Jonathan Wilson who impressed me with his attention to the dramatic details of the play. I found this an intimate production that is well-suited for TimeLine's small theater. The tension and depth of the play's themes were emphasized while there were great performances by all of the cast. Nate Burger's portrayal of Hally moved from youthful confidence to moments of intense anguish and pain over his relationship with his father over the course of the play. Alfred H. Wilson as Sam brought the right amount of understanding to his role even as young Hally lashed out at him, while Daniel Bryant as Willie lent a lighter spirit to many of the scenes.

This short drama was kept taut with effective pacing of the constant changes in the relationships of the three characters. The changes were linked by several motifs, notably the metaphor of the dance which from the opening scene under laid the gradual movement toward the climax of the play. The play reached an emotional apex as the beauty of the ballroom dancing floor ("a world without collisions") is used as a transcendent metaphor for life and a creative paper topic. The ability of the actors to communicate the wealth of family background and interpersonal relationships impressed me the most. As the performance ended I left the theater with many thoughts about the drama I had just seen and joy at the experience of another great production from TimeLine Theatre Company.

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