MIES JULIE

YALE SUMMER CABARET, 2017

PRODUCTION PHOTOS: T. Charles Erickson

BY YAËL FARBER

AFTER STRINDBERG'S MISS JULIE

Directed by Rory Pelsue

Dramaturgy: Charles O'Malley

Scenic Design: Fufan Zhang

Costume Design: Sophia Choi

Sound Design: Kathy Ruvuna

Lighting Design: Elizabeth Green

Stage Manager: Olivia Plath

CAST:

Marie Botha, Amandla Jahava, Kineta Kunutu, James Udom

REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

Enthralling and fascinating and disturbing, the Yale Summer Cabaret’s Mies Julie adds more heat to a hot summer…Director Rory Pelsue boldly lets sexuality play the part it must…

-Donald Brown, New Haven Review

Even with the Cabaret’s tables and chairs clustered close to the stage, the set seems wide open. That’s partly because the characters number only four: Julie (Marié Botha), the white heir to the farm; John (James Udom), a black farm worker from the Xhosa ethnic group; Christine (Kineta Kunutu), his mother; and Ukhokho (Amandla Jahava), an ancestral spirit of John and Christine’s family. The actors rarely leave the stage at the end of their scenes, instead hovering on the edges until it’s their turn to rejoin. It’s a testament to the intensity of each performance that if anyone is lurking off to the side, you hardly notice.

All the action of the play happens in the kitchen of a farm house somewhere in Karoo, South Africa, surrounded by open country. But just as important as place is time. The play occupies two planes of existence, one nebulously now and the other tenuously past. A gnarled clump of roots clusters in a corner, a vestige of a tree planted on Ukhokho’s grave, just one of many buried beneath the floor. Jahava’s Ukhokho stalks the stage, her presence looming large while being invisible—most of the time—to the other characters. Like the legacy it symbolizes, the roots of the tree are trying to burst through the kitchen floor, not to be denied any longer.

-Ann Ewbank, Daily Nutmeg

RORY PELSUE director