If you have heard about Mr. Harold and the Boys playing at at The Segal Centre you may be wondering what it is about and whether or not it is worth taking in.
Here’s what I will tell you- The show is not ‘light’ or ‘easy’ in any way. In fact, I found it actually hut when I allowed myself to ‘feel’ what was happening on the stage. The reason that it was able to evoke such a response is because the cast of three does a PHENOMENAL job of bringing their characters to life, and giving the audience pause as we are drawn back to the 1950’s in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The play is about 17-year-old Harold doing his homework in his mother’s café, while two black men, who have long worked as servants for his family, clean the floors. Throughout the day, the three share fond memories and the warmth and camaraderie between them is palpable. That said, there are moments where we sense a bit of a struggle between this long-time friendship and Harold’s supposed ‘master’ status. Personally, it was this struggle that resonated with me – the struggle to act and behave and treat one’s fellow human beings with the respect they rightfully deserve, contrasted with an upbringing and a mentality that taught Harold that he belonged to a class of people that were somehow superior to the very people with whom he was so comfortable. I found this to be a struggle between an open heart and a closed mind- and that this very struggle illustrates that racism is a close-minded, man-made problem that can be resolved with love, respect and open hearts.
It’s interesting to note that the play was initially banned in South Africa and has since become an enduring, modern classic that continues to speak to inequality and injustice.
The cast is incredible (which is what everyone was saying in the lobby after the play- not just me!) and the show carries an important message. You may also want to know that the show runs for about an hour and a half with no intermission, leaving you plenty of time to head out for coffee or dessert afterwards 😉
Master Harold and the Boys is playing through Saturday night, February 11th and you can click here to purchase tickets.