The Shadow of the Hummingbird

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The Shadow of the Hummingbird is a two-hander by Athol Fugard (1932-), with an introductory scene by Paula Fourie (1985-).

The original text

A play about a meeting between "Oupa", a retired South African teacher/writer living in self-imposed exile in Southern California, and his grandson, "Boba", and the insights about life that result from this afternoon spent together. Dedicated to Fugard's grandson.

Fourie's "Prelude", showing the author going through his scrapbooks, features actual extracts from Fugard's unpublished notebooks.

The world premiere of the original version took place at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut on 26 March 2014.

The text of the final, longer and amended, play was published internationally by Samuel French, 2015 and in South Africa by Human & Rousseau,

Translations and adaptations

The play was reworked and extended for production in South Africa and later publication.

Performance history

2014: The world premiere of the first, shorter version, directed by Gordon Edelstein, with Fugard himself in the lead role, supported by the ten-year-old twins Aiden and Dermot McMillan as "Boba" the grandson, opened at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut on 26 March 2014. Sets were by Eugene Lee; costumes by Susan Hilferty; lighting by Michael Chybowski; sound by John Gromada; production stage manager, Jason Kaiser.

2014: The extended version, including Paula Fourie's prologue, first produced in South Africa by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre 10 - 26 July 2014. Directed by Athol Fugard, with Athol Fugard and Marviantoz Baker. Co-director Paula Fourie, lighting Mannie Manim, sets and costume Saul Radomsky and sound James Webb. Stage manager, Elisabet Nel, set construction Mark McKeown and AV design Ben du Plessis. This production also done in the André Huguenet Theatre, Bloemfontein and Barney Simon Theatre at The Market Theatre in association with the Windybrow Theatre 30 July to 17 August 2014.


Charles Isherwood. 2014. "Trying to Regain Childhood’s Magic" (review), The New York Times April 11, 2014

Lida Krüger. 2016 "The Shadow Of The Hummingbird" (book review), Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, vol.53 no.1 Pretoria 2016[1]

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

Programme: The Shadow of the Hummingbird, The Fugard Theatre, 2014.

Friends of the Fugard June 2014 Newsletter[2]

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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