The Blood Knot

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The Blood Knot (also known as Bloodknot in a later version) is a play by Athol Fugard.

TO BE EDITED

The original text

A 1961 two-hander play by Athol Fugard about the bonding of two black brothers, one of whom is lighter skinned and has been passing for white. Fugard’s first truly successful play, one which is highly regarded internationally as well.


Subject

The only two characters in the play are the brothers Morris and Zachariah. Both were raised by the same black mother, but have different fathers, and Morris is much more fair-skinned than Zachariah. Morris can pass for white, and has done so in the past, but now he has returned to live with Zachariah in a small, miserable shack in the "colored" section of Port Elizabeth. Morris keeps the house, while Zachariah works to support them both. They are saving money in hopes of buying a farm of their own some day. Both Morris and Zachariah have rich imaginations and have taken part in role-playing games together since they were small boys.

Translations and adaptations

On 18 May 1963 The Blood Knot was recorded as a teleplay for Armchair Theatre by Associated British Corporation (ABC), but was never scheduled for broadcast on ITV.[1]

Translated into Dutch as Zacharias mijn broeder ("Zacharias my brother") by Jozef van Hoeck, 1962.

Translated into French by Jean-Michel Martial with the title Liens du Sang. It was first presented at the Théâtre de la Tempête in Paris in 1998.

Translated into Afrikaans as Bloedbroers ("Blood brothers"), by Kobus J. Kotze was performed at the Absa KKNK in 2009, directed by Zane Meas with Christo Davids and Hennie Jacobs.

Published

First published in 1961/4?*. A revised version was published under the title Blood Knot in 198* and performed by ** in 1988**. (See ) Blood Knot, The by Athol Fugard.

Published in Simondium and also in Boesman and Lena and Other Plays (Oxford University Press).

Published in In Athol Fugard: Three Port Elizabeth Plays London: Oxford University Press, 1974

Performance history in South Africa

1961: After one performance at Rhodes University Theatre Complex in Grahamstown in July 1961 it premièred for only one performance on 3rd September, before an invited interracial audience in the Rehearsal Room at Dorkay House in Johannesburg, directed by the playwright, with Athol Fugard as Morris and Zakes Mokae as Zachariah. Designs by Frank Graves. This was the first stage production with and interracial cast staged in South Africa.

1962: Staged at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town on 12 February 1962 and, commissioned by the British publisher Andrew Deutsch, in London’s West End in May.

1976: Later Fugard reworked it and changed the title to Blood Knot. This was staged in the Upstairs at the Market, directed by Benjy Francis and starring Benjy Francis (Morris) and Fats Bookholane (Zachariah ).

1986: Staged at the Grahamstown Festival and subsequently at the Wits Theatre Complex, directed by Jerry Mofokeng, featuring Zane Meas (Zach) and Kellam Beard (Morrie). Designer Adrian Galley.

1988: Staged by PACT (Market Theatre?), directed by Barney Simon, with John Kani (Zachariah) and Marcel van Heerden (Morris). Designer Nadya Cohen.

1990: Staged by Little Theatre Tours at UCT Arena Theatre, directed by Christopher Weare, with Christopher Gxalaba (Zachariah) and Tim Greene (Morris) in May.

1998: Staged in the Pieter Roos Theatre at The Civic in Johannesburg, directed by Mark Graham, with Ian Roberts (Morris) and Zane Meas (Zachariah).

International performances

1998: Performed in French as Liens du Sang at the Théâtre de la Tempête in Paris, opening 21 April. The directors were Gilles David and Vlad Trandafilov and the cast included Dominik Bernard, Akonio Dolo, Jacques Martial.


2019: Performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, London, from 8 March to 20 April, directed by Matthew Xia with Nathan McMullen and Kalungi Ssebandeke. Design by Basia Bińkowska, lighting by Ciarán Cunningham, sound and compositions by Xana, movement director Angela Gasparetto, fight director Kevin McCurdy, voice and dialect coach Emma Woodvine, costume supervisor Megan Rarity and casting consultant Sophie Parrott CDG.

Sources

Gosher, 1988

Wikipedia [2]

Cape Times, 22 May 1990

Liens du Sang theatre programme.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

https://www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/blood-knot/cast

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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NOTES

by Athol Fugard. A play about the bonding of two black brothers, one of whom is lighter skinned and has been passing for white. Fugard’s first truly successful play, one which is highly regarded internationally as well.

The original text

The play first opened at the Rehearsal Room at Dorkay House on 3rd September, 1961 before an invited interracial audience. Directed by Fugard, who played “Morris” with Zakes Mokae as “Zachariah”, and with designs by Frank Graves.

Published in Simondium and also in Boesman and Lena ''and Other Plays'' (Oxford University Press, 1980).

Performance history in South Africa

Notes** for integration in this section

Blood Knot, The by Athol Fugard. Athol and Zakes Mokae starred in this play which opened at the Rhodes Theatre in Grahamstown in July 1961, and then played at the Rehearsal Room at Dorkay House in September. Leon Gluckman then presented it at the Intimate.


This play was staged again at Upstairs at the Market, directed by Benjy Francis and starring Francis and Fats Bookholane in 1976.

Barney Simon directed this play starring John Kani and Marcel van Heerden for PACT in 1988.


It opened at the Intimate Theatre on 11 November 1961(1963?*). This production marked the birth of a new South African accent and focus in South African theatre. It toured the country and was shown to acclaim in London For example, it was staged at the Labia Theatre, Cape Town on the evening of 12 February 1962, and - commissioned by the British publisher Andrew Deutsch, was staged on London’s West End in May 1962. The play was first published in 1961/4?*. A revised version was published under the title Bloodknot[Blood Knot?*] in 198* and performed by ** in 1988**. (See Gosher, 1988)

Later Fugard reworked it and changed the title to Bloodknot. This was directed by Benjy Francis in the Upstairs Theatre at the Market Theatre in 1976.



It opened at the Intimate Theatre on 11 November 1961(1963?*). This production marked the birth of a new South African accent and focus in South African theatre. It toured the country and was shown to acclaim in London For example, it was staged at the Labia Theatre, Cape Town on the evening of 12 February 1962, and - commissioned by the British publisher Andrew Deutsch, was staged on London’s West End in May 1962.

Later Fugard reworked it and changed the title to Bloodknot. This was directed by Benjy Francis in the Upstairs Theatre at the Market Theatre in 1976.

The play was first published in 1961/4?*. A revised version was published under the title Bloodknot[Blood Knot?*] in 198* and performed by ** in 1988**. (See Gosher, 1988) Blood Knot, The by Athol Fugard. Athol and Zakes Mokae starred in this play which opened at the Rhodes Theatre in Grahamstown in July 1961, and then played at the Rehearsal Room at Dorkay House in September. Leon Gluckman then presented it at the Intimate.

Three Port Elizabeth plays : The blood knot, Hello and goodbye, Boesman and Lena / Athol Fugard. London : Oxford University Press, 1974

This play was staged again at Upstairs at the Market, directed by Benjy Francis and starring Francis and Fats Bookholane in 1976.

Barney Simon directed this play starring John Kani and Marcel van Heerden for PACT in 1988.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into French by Jean-Michel Martial with the title Liens du Sang. It was presented at the Théâtre de la Tempête in Paris, opening 21 April 1998. The directors were Gilles David and Vlad Trandafilov and the cast included Dominik Bernard, Akonio Dolo, Jacques Martial.

Bloedbroers, an Afrikaans translation by Kobus J. Kotze was performed at the Absa KKNK in 2009, directed by Zane Meas with Christo Davids and Hennie Jacobs.