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Last Chance

July 11, 2002|Daryl H. Miller


" 'Master Harold' ... and the boys"--International City Theatre's vibrant revival prompts renewed appreciation for the power and poetry of Athol Fugard's writing. Fugard once explained in an interview that two people had profoundly influenced his writing about injustice and the dream of future healing. One was his mother, who "kept alive in me--when society was trying to blunt it--a sense of what is right and wrong." The other was Sam Semela, a black man who worked for Fugard's family.

Sam is one of the waiters in "Master Harold"; Fugard himself is the boy, Hally; and his mother, though unseen, calls with the news that speeds the play toward its shattering climax. As Sam, Leon Morenzie stands tall, moves with grace and speaks with crisp wit and insight. No wonder Travis Vaden's Hally adores him, his eyes narrowing with pleasure every time Sam lobs him an intellectual challenge. As Willie, the other waiter, Gregg Daniel watches and reacts to Hally and Sam's interactions, a sort of theatrical stand-in for South Africa itself.

Under caryn morse desai's direction, the action flows along on waves of goodwill until Hally gets some bad news and explosively lashes out at a convenient and socially sanctioned target: Sam.

Daryl H. Miller


Ends Sunday at the International City Theatre at Center Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 436-4610.

Also closing this weekend:

God Bless Americana, Part 2: The Retro Slide Show Tour of Southern California--Charles Phoenix's delightful slide show of vintage Southern California color photos ends Sunday at the Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (866) 754-3374.

Murdering Marlowe--Charles Marowitz's mordantly funny new play ends Sunday at the Malibu Stage, 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, (310) 589-1998.

Pentecost--Set in post-Communist Eastern Europe, David Edgar's challenging, convoluted and at times blatantly self-indulgent parable of Western privilege and Third World resentment ends Saturday at the Evidence Room, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (213) 381-7118.

A Feast of Fools--Clown Geoff Hoyle (Cirque du Soleil and Zazu in "The Lion King" on Broadway), who has a signature brand of physical comedy and is accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Gina Leishman, closes Sunday at the La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, (858) 550-1010.

On Approval--This 75th anniversary production of Frederick Lonsdale's period entertainment, a delicious if insubstantial confection, ends Sunday at the Pacific Resident Theatre, 703-707 Venice Blvd., Venice, (310) 822-8392.

Blues for an Alabama Sky--Pearl Cleage's love story about a struggling Harlem singer during the Great Depression ends Sunday at the Actor's Circle Theatre, 7313 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 692-9540.

Crazy Marriage--Vernon Day's romantic comedy about an "awfully wedded" bride and groom, circa the 1950s, ends Sunday at the Lonnie Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, (818) 769-7529.

She Stoops to Conquer--Oliver Goldsmith's 18th century comedy of mistaken identities, fools outwitted and love triumphant ends Sunday at the Pasadena Shakespeare Company at Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, (626) 799-1860.

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