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Orestes can refer to a character from Greek mythology[1], who features in a number of Classical Greek plays, or to a workshopped South African play by Athol Fugard and company.

Orestes by Athol Fugard and company

Orestes is an entirely workshopped play, facilitated by Athol Fugard with Yvonne Bryceland, Val Donald and Wilson Dunster. Used the image of a man with a suitcase (based on the story of the bomb detonated on the concourse of Johannesburg Station by John Harris of the African Restistance Movement on 24 July 1964) and the story of Orestes as generating points.

Developed for and first performed at the CAPAB Lab** in Cape Town in 1971. This production was also presented by PACT in 1971.

A description of the event was published under the title Orestes: an experiment in theatre described in a letter to an American friend in the Theatre One, edited by Stephen Gray, 1978. Also published in My Children! My Africa! and Selected Shorter Plays by Wits University Press.

In 2018 Brian Astbury published his own illustrated description of the play under the title Orestes - Athol Fugard's Lost Play (Kindle)

According to Astbury, the performance led to the formation of the Space Theatre in Cape Town.


Stephen Gray. 1978. Theatre One: New South African Drama (Johannesburg:Ad Donker Publishers).

Athol Fugard. My Children! My Africa! and Selected Shorter Plays. Wits University Press.

Brian Astbury 2018. Orestes - Athol Fugard's Lost Play (Kindle)

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