It wasn’t until six years ago that Fugard decided his play, that had brought a tremor of praise across the world, was now ready for a film adaptation.
“His call came out of the blue and filled me with excitement and trepidation. On the one hand I was honoured that a man I've always admired and believe to be not only South Africa's best playwright, but also a writer with a great international reputation felt he could entrust me with the task, and at the same time I knew it would be a huge challenge to turn his stage play into a feature film,” recalls Nicky Rebelo, screenplay writer, who once auditioned for the role of Hally, (fresh out of Wits Drama School, for the Market Theatre production in 1983.)
By his own admission, Fugard was quoted as saying that ‘Master Harold’ is the “most totally and immediately autobiographical” of his works.” It is an on-screen depiction of true life events, as Fugard remembers them. The playwright was born Harold Athol Lannigan Fugard, and his nickname, as in the play, was Hally.” Fugard’s mother ran the St. George’s tearoom and the waiters who worked there were Sam Semela and Willie Molapo.
Directed by award-winning storyteller Lonny Price, who played the role of Hally when the play premiered on Broadway 30 years ago, ‘“Master Harold’ tells a story about a boy choosing between two fathers. I have always been moved by the idea of that and the fact the he makes the wrong choice- for now- but later he grows up and of course became Athol Fugard, who made all the right choices,” says Price.
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