The Well Being

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The Well Being is an "action theatre" piece created by Andrew Buckland, Lionel Newton, and Lara Foot-Newton, also known collectively as Mouthpeace Theatre.

Plot synopsis

"The Well Being tells the strange tale of Flo Deluge, a young woman living in narrow-minded village at the edge of a forest in a valley. Flo is raped by the local preacher and in her trauma she retreats to live in an isolated cottage in the forest where she obsessively proceeds to dig a huge hole as if her life depends on it. Flo’s bizarre behaviour has become the principal topic of conversation for the villagers. The rains come, turn into floods, and her estranged community leaves her to the rising waters and the company of two garrulous "skollie" frogs. To the rescue comes a porpoise who persuades Flo to frolic with him in the waves. He leaves her with a strange "egg" to which she eventually gives birth, the offspring being a half-fish half-human. The flood is followed by a scorching drought which devastates the countryside once more. The fate of Flo and her baby is sealed when the rumour mill in the community decides that this strange woman and her deformed offspring are the cause of all its misery. The villagers descend on Flo and insist that she give them the water from her well. In short, The Well Being is the story of love, water, a porpoise, a watermelon, and two frogs." [1]

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

Premiéred in February 1999 in the Barney Simon Theatre at the Market Theatre, directed by Lara Foot-Newton, with Andrew Buckland and Lionel Newton. Directed: Janet Buckland.

Staged in December 2003 in the Baxter Theatre, directed by Lara Foot-Newton, with Andrew Buckland and Lionel Newton.

Staged in April 2004 in the Theatre on the Square, directed by Lara Foot-Newton, with Andrew Buckland and Lionel Newton.

Performance history

(Quoted from Study Guide [2]): The Well Being has played to great critical acclaim at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg as well as in a variety of Arts Festivals throughout South Africa. In 2001 it toured KwaZulu Natal and played in Sweden, Belgium, Zimbabwe, and Zambia; it played again in Sweden, Holland and Belgium in Spring 2002. In January 2003 it performed in Winnipeg, Canada. In 2002 it played a nine week season in the UK, three weeks of which were at the Riverside Studios in London, the rest touring Brighton, Manchester, Belfast, Dublin and Bristol.


Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

Robyn Sassen. 2015. "Physical Theatre" in Martin Middeke and Peter Paul Schnierer (editors).The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary South African Theatre. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Jim McNabb. 2003 Study Guide on The Well Being, National Arts Centre[3]

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