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MIES JULIE

Adapted from August Strindberg’s Miss Julie
Written & Directed by Yaël Farber

In a contemporary reworking of August Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie, Yaël Farber has transposed this 1888 parable of class and gender to a remote, bleak farm in modern day South Africa’s Cape Karoo semi-desert.  This explosive new version tackles the deeper complexities of South African society head on, creating a newly menacing, torridly passionate, urgently relevant allegory for a post-apartheid state in profound transition. Against the pulsating, poignant backdrop of the annual Freedom Day celebrations, Xhosa farm labourer John and Mies Julie, the daughter of his white Afrikaans master, embark on a ruinous night, fuelled by drink, heat, generation-deep resentments and earthy, brutal, primal passion. In the sweltering heat of the kitchen, pots bubble threateningly, a fan spins ineffectually, a tree grows through the worn tiles – and the sexual tension builds dangerously. Into the whole volatile brew are thrown all the explosive, unresolved legacies of the apartheid era: race, power, land restitution and ancestral rights. The effect is shattering to all who have witnessed this work.

Since being the undisputed hit in its debut at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe – MIES JULIE has taken the theatrical world by storm. Having amassed over 40 international five-star reviews and multiple theatre awards. The Guardian named it amongst top 5 productions in London  2012 and the New York Times’ Ben Brantley named it amongst top 10 of 2012 in New York.  MIES JULIE continues to tour prolifically.


PRESS

Just sensational. 

Paul Taylor, THE INDEPENDENT | Read more...


An emotionally shattering evening that blows the dust off Strindberg's theatrical shocker. An unforgettable play for today. 

Charles Spencer, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH | Read more...


An extraordinary production. One of the most galvanising your likely to see for a long time. 

TIME OUT LONDON | Read more...


This Strindberg play hasn't just been updated, it's been immortalised 

John Nathan, THE JEWISH CHRONICLE | Read more...


Miss Julie has never raged quite so fiercely as she does in this searing and fearless new version by Yael Farber, which reinvents Strindberg's play and transposes it to modern South Africa. Brilliant. 

Lyn Gardner, THE GUARDIAN | Read more...


Gets you watching as if your life depended on it. Adding race and land rights to Strindberg's sex and class war improves on the original and packs such a punch, you wonder why it hasn't been done before. Generates a serious erotic threat. Magnificent. 

Maxie Szalwinska, SUNDAY TIMES


A scintillating treat, a primal scream of a reworking of the Strindberg staple. It's a pitch-perfect repositioning of the action from adaptor/director Yael Farber. Crackling sexual tension. Hilda Cronjé and Bongile Mantsai are both outstanding. 

Fiona Mountford, EVENING STANDARD | Read more...


Both intimate and epic, 90 minutes of constantly mounting tension, generated by eerie sounds, atmospheric lighting and ferocious performances - Bongile Mantsai as John every bit as much as Hilda Cronjé as Julie. 

Robert Dawson-Scott, THE TIMES


MIES JULIE: THE SMASH HIT OF THE FRINGE

Believe the hype. Mies Julie has set a benchmark of excellence and visceral relevance.

Dominic Cavendish, DAILY TELEGRAPH | Read more...


TORRID NIGHT LAYS BARE OLD WOUNDS

The temperature never stops rising in Yael Farber's Mies Julie, a play for which "scorcher" is way too mild a description. Inspired. There is more erotic heat generated by the play's two central characters, fiercely inhabited by Hilda Cronje and Bongile Mantsai, than in any production in town. Cronje is simply astonishing.

Ben Brantley, NEW YORK TIMES | Read more...


THE BEST THEATRE OF 2012: MIES JULIE

The result was an evening so hot, so sexually charged, physically violent and with so much at stake that it often felt as if the stage would blister. Genuinely combustible performances. Strindberg's play wasn't just dusted down - it had a fire lit under it.

Lyn Gardner, THE GUARDIAN | Read more...


BEN BRANTLEY'S TOP 10 OF 2012

Yael Farber brought a contemporary visceral urgency to a classic. As the fatally attracted, class-divided lovers, Hilda Cronje and Bongile Mantsai delivered the year's most erotically lacerating performances.

Ben Brantley, NEW YORK TIMES | Read more...


MIES JULIE REVIEW

Yael Farber's radically remade, sell-out version of the play makes it teem with new and terrifying life. The violence and desire between mistress and servant has never been more furious, steaming or convincing.

Susannah Clapp, THE OBSERVER | Read more...


SOUTH AFRICAN TALENT SHINES BRIGHTLY

Features a heart-breaking performance by Hilda Cronje. Mies Julie is gut-wrenchingly powerful'

Tim Cornwell, THE SCOTSMAN | Read more...


MIES JULIE - EDINBURGH REVIEW

Mies Julie is the jewel of Assembly's glittering South African Season this year. Produced by Cape Town's Baxter Theatre, it thrums with menace and passion. A sensational new version. The performances from Hilda Cronje and Bongile Mantsai are electrifying. It's impossible to tear your eyes away.

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Alice Jones, THE INDEPENDENT | Read more...


MIES JULIE REVIEW

A devastating reinvention. Farber has concocted an electric piece of theatre.

Neil Cooper, THE HERALD | Read more...


MIES JULIE

Erotic, intense and with an almost unbearable climax. This high-energy, darkly passionate take on Strindberg's 'Miss Julie' sets hearts racing. A bona fide hot ticket.

TIME OUT LONDON | Read more...


SOUTH AFRICAN MIES JULIE AT ASSEMBLY

Definitely the best Miss Julie I've ever seen, and I've seen a few.

Lyn Gardner, THE GUARDIAN THEATRE BLOG | Read more...


'JULIE' A REAL JEWEL

A blistering adaptation. Inhabiting their roles with a ferocious erotic intensity, Cronje and Mantsai are riveting. Thanks to them and their playwright-director Yael Farber, Strindberg's incendiary drama is more fiery than ever

Frank Scheck, NEW YORK POST | Read more...


CURTAIN RAISERS: DISPENSING WITH SYMBOLISM

It would be difficult to overstate the intensity of Mies Julie

Lizzie Simon, WALL STREET JOURNAL | Read more...


Mies Julie is contemporary, relevant, shocking, intellectually challenging and just simply heart-rending.

Marina Nel, DIE BURGER (South Africa)


SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

Stunning performances - their achievement is one of breathtaking control and prowess.

Mark Fisher, SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY | Read more...


TOURS

Harbour Front Theatre – Toronto, Canada 2014

Place Des Arts – Montreal, Canada 2014

The Cultch – Vancouver, Canada 2014

Hong Kong Arts Festival – China 2014

Perth International Arts Festival – Australia 2014

Shakespeare Theatre Co – Washington, USA 2013

ArtsEmerson – Boston, USA 2013

Baxter Theatre Centre – Cape Town, South Africa 2013

Oxford Playhouse – Oxford, UK 2013

Tampere Theatre Festival – Finland 2013

Galway Arts Festival – Galway, Ireland 2013

Riverside Studios – London, UK 2013

Market Theatre – Johannesburg, South Africa 2013

St. Ann’s Warehouse – New York City, USA 2012

Assembly, Edinburgh Festival – Edinburgh, Scotland 2012

Baxter Theatre Centre – Cape Town, South Africa 2012

National Arts Festival – Grahamstown, South Africa 2012

The State Theatre – Pretoria, South Africa 2012

PRODUCTION INFORMATION

MIES JULIE

Restitutions of Body and Soil

Since The Bantu Land Act No. 27 of 1913 and The Immorality Act No. 5 of 1927

Based on the play Miss Julie by August Strindberg

Written and directed by Yael Farber

Presented by The Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town 

Cast

Bongile Mantsai as John

Hilda Cronje as Mies Julie

Thoko Ntshinga as Christine

Tandiwe Nofirst Lungisa as Ancestor / Singer / Musician

Sound Score: Daniel and Matthew Pencer

Set & Lighting Design: Patrick Curtis

Original Lighting Design: Paul Abrams

Costumes: Birrie le Roux

Music performed by: Brydon Bolton and Mark Fransman

Age restriction: PG 18 

Running Time: 90 minutes


TOUR BOOKING INFO:

LARA FOOT: Lara.Newton@uct.ac.za


PLAYWRIGHT-DIRECTOR’s NOTE

The Karoo is a semi-desert region in South Africa of bleak and deeply affecting beauty. Having spent interminable months there each summer as a child, it’s a landscape that is seared into my soul. With its dense dryness ; sudden, rare, fragrant and violent storms ; consistently devastating poverty of its black inhabitants, and “smallness” of social life eeked out beneath vast, overwhelmingly beautiful skies – the Karoo remains (despite South Africa’s 18 years of democracy - a bastion of enduring socio-political conservatism. It is a landscape that articulates the core dilemmas in a country struggling to redefine itself. Transposed from late 19th century Sweden to the vast, flat plains of 21st century South Africa –August Strindberg’s original text of MISS JULIE (once so shattering in its time) is reconceived and rewritten here to address the rising subtext of South Africa. MIES JULIE is a text and theatre experience committed to articulating the fears, desires, resentments and possibilities of a country haunted by its past. Veenen Plaas (“Weeping Farm”) is the fictitious homestead on which this story is told. Many of the farmsteads in the Karoo today, still bear such poetically desolate original Old Dutch names. The land of these farmsteads continues to be worked by the descendants of the original dispossessed, and owned by the inheritors from those who first claimed these plains as their own. It is a landscape that struck me as the potent pressure-cooker within which to articulate what lives beneath our country.

Over a single night, a young woman and her father ‘s servant, strip away the layers that protected and kept them from each other until now.

With this simple premise in mind, I have set out to try to articulate the myriad issues that face us as South Africans. Mother, land, body. Who owns the land? And how do we ever address what is now so entrenched in our fragile economy? Most interesting, perhaps, is how we come to terms with what has formed our cultural identities and how they are inextricably bound in this red soil. We welcome you into the heat of Veenen Plaas’s kitchen. We hope its truths might speak to you not only of South Africa’s complexity – but the unaddressed ghosts of any nation waiting to be acknowledged.

Yael Farber 2012 New York