Shakespeare Theatre Company presents Mies Julie

Oct 15, 2013
Mies Julie

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is proud to present Mies Julie, the unflinching South African adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie. In a contemporary reworking of Strindberg's classic, internationally acclaimed adaptor/director Yael Farber has ingeniously transposed this 1888 parable of class and gender to a remote, South African estate 18 years post-Apartheid. Following a sell-out run at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this presentation by the Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town in association with the South African State Theatre has earned many awards and accolades on its international tour to Ireland, Finland, London and the U.S. Mies Julie will make its Washington, D.C. debut at STC's Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street NW) from November 9-24, 2013.

This explosive new version tackles the deeper complexities of South African society head on. Both play and setting brilliantly illuminate each other, creating a newly menacing, torridly passionate and urgently relevant allegory for a post-Apartheid state in profound transition.

"This is a Miss Julie for a world grappling to redefine itself," explains Farber. "It is a disturbing yet mesmerizing theatrical experience that reaches to address issues of restitution and the reality of what can and cannot ever be recovered."

"We are pleased to bring this brilliant and breathtaking production of Mies Julie to D.C. audiences," said STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn. "Theatregoers in D.C. are well-versed in classic works, and I know they will appreciate this updated version of Strindberg's Miss Julie that pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre."

Against the pulsating, poignant backdrop of the annual Freedom Day celebrations, Xhosa farm laborer John and Mies Julie, the daughter of his white Afrikaans "master," embark on a ruinous night, fuelled by drink, heat, generation-deep resentments and brutal, primal passion. Christine, meanwhile-cleverly recast as his mother and Julie's childhood nurse-continues to scrub the floor as three generations of her family have: a manifest emblem of the old regime, her very fingerprints worn away by servitude.

Mies Julie received the Best of Edinburgh Fringe Award, the Edinburgh Fringe First Award and the Edinburgh Herald Angel Award and was also listed among the top theatre highlights of 2012 by The Guardian and The New York Times.

Farber has assembled a formidable cast led by Bongile Mantsai as John, Hilda Cronje as Julie and Thoko Ntshinga as Christine. "It has been tremendously exciting to work with Yael again and to be part of bringing to life her incredible vision and interpretation of this classic, aptly transposed to contemporary South Africa," says Lara Foot, Director and CEO of the Baxter Theatre Centre and international producer of Mies Julie. "The journey so far is nothing short of overwhelming and exhilarating. Yael has brought together an absolutely amazing cast and creative team to present a fresh take on this play which made theatre history in South Africa in the 1980s."

The production is part of the STC Presents Series which presents world class international productions to theatregoers in D.C. Michael Kahn declared, "We intend to bring in the most innovative and highest quality of work. Our goal is to make sure we're presenting the best of many kinds of performances, the best of their fields, and I feel our STC Presents Series is just that." The next presentation in the series will be Man in a Case featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov in December. Additional STC Presents titles will be announced at a later date.