Mike Karoly - John
Karl Kalen - Winston
Tami Hawkins - Ismene
Nell Chapman - Antigone


   "The Island" was first performed on 2 July 1973, directed by Athol
   Fugard. Two young men on a prison island. They have shared the same
   cell for years. Winston is serving a life sentence, John has got ten
   years. They are political prisoners, constantly threatened by their
   warder, Maggot, lurking like a sadistic shadow.
   John wants to put ANTIGONE at a prison concert; Antigone   like the
   two of them   is prosecuted for acting according to her moral and
   cultural standards. Winston is reticent about taking on the part of
   Antigone, but finally agrees to do it.
   In mid rehersal something happens that changes their situation
   dramaticaly and puts their friendship to the test.
   Frank Milde


Pre-show: Bob Marley's "Revolution?"

1. The opening: THEY GOT BEATEN -- Hodoshe, one man (many).
Running (sand, under the water, blows, sound -- and reactions), Hodoshe is everywhere, invisible (life).

2. Scene One. "Two Ones."

3. Antigone and Ismene (from PROLOGUE), masked.
The prison sounds kill the vision. Black out.

4. Another day. Guard passes by with a stick.

5. Scene Two. "Free." [A few days later (when?)]
John's leaving.
The wig and false breasts.

6. Another dream of two sisters.

(Intermission. South African Suite, a cappella.)

7. Scene Three. "For Life."
[Later the same night.]

8. Third dream.

9. Scene Four. The show.
Blankets as curtains.

[Children chorus and the sounds of beating together. When?]

10. The end. The audience are the prisoners.


Island, Fugard * REVIEW *
Biography: The child of an English father and Afrikaner mother, Athol Fugard grew up in Port Elizabeth, the Cape Province city where most of his plays are set. He studied philosophy and anthropology at the University of Cape Town, but left just before graduating. He hitchhiked the length of the continent to Port Sudan, where he spent the next two years as the only white seaman working on a steam ship. Returning to South Africa in 1956, Fugard married Sheila Meiring, an actress whom he credits for developing his interest in theater. In 1958, Fugard moved to Johannesburg where he worked as a court clerk, an experience that made him keenly aware of the injustices of apartheid, the theme of many of his plays. In that same year, he organized a multiracial theater for which he wrote, directed, and acted.

Featured Pages : Fugard




Playwright Athol Fugard was born in South Africa in 1932. He describes himself as an Afrikaner writing in English. Nearly all his plays are set in South Africa and reflect the reality of apartheid and postapartheid society. His Master Harold and the Boys just completed a successful run on Broadway starring Danny Glover. The Island is one of three "Statement Plays" written by Fugard in the early 1970s. These plays, which also include Sizwe Bansi Is Dead (1972) and Statements after an Arrest under the Immorality Act (1972), experimented with improvisation and directly attacked the South African apartheid laws.

Costume designs for Fugard's The Island at Theatre UAF (1996)


First Produced -- 1973 Cape Town
First Published 1974 in "Statements", Oxford University Press, London
Genre : Play in 4 scenes
Parts : Male 2 Synopsis: two political prisoners in the Robben Island maximum security prison perform lengthy backbreaking mimes.

2006: Godot (and Island)?

2007 - Stoppard


* (ätôl´ fyoo´gard, foo-) (Athol Harold Lanigan Fugard) , 1932-, South African playwright, actor, and director. In 1965 he became director of the Serpent Players in Port Elizabeth; in 1972 he was a founder of Cape Town's Space Experimental Theatre. One of the first white playwrights to collaborate with black actors and workers, Fugard writes of the frustrations of life in contemporary South Africa and of overcoming the psychological barriers created by apartheid . Some of his works, such as Blood Knot (1960), the first in his family trilogy, were initially banned in South Africa. Widely acclaimed, his plays include Boesman and Lena (1969), Sizwe Bansi Is Dead (1972), A Lesson from Aloes (1978), the semiautobiographical work Master Harold … and the Boys (1982), The Road to Mecca (1985), and Playland (1993). In his first two postapartheid plays, Valley Song (1995) and The Captain's Tiger (1998), Fugard addresses rather personal concerns, but in Sorrows and Rejoicings (2001) he focuses on the complex racial dynamics of South Africa's new era. Fugard has also written one novel, Tsotsi (1980).

Bibliography: See also his Notebooks 1960-1977 (1983) and Cousins: A Memoir (1998).

Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2005.

Dear Mr.Antohin I am a Theater Arts Studient in Waterford in Southern Africa, and I have been studing south african theatre for while, especially Fugards work. I have an assignment to find out how i would set up 'The Island', in a modern kind of way. Sice the apartheid is over and the statement isn't that important anymore, and john and winston dont really do the part any more, i wanted to ask you for som information on how you went about setting it in 1996. For example what sort of improvisation work you did with your actors, and who you made it relevent for the 90's. anything would actually do. I would really appritiate if you wrote me back.
Best Regards,
Nis Wedel Lorenzen

I didn't stage it for a political reason, but for a strong exisitential message of the play. "Each man is an island" -- the two man try to find the way to their own selves by founding the way to each other. Anatoly

[ ]

Fugard and Minimalism.

Oedipus Rex05

Next: notes
JOHN: News bulletin and weather forecast! Black Domination was chased by White Domination. Black Domination lost its shoes and collected a few bruises. Black Domination will run barefoot to the quarry tomorrow. Conditions locally remain unchanged—thunderstorms with the possibility of cold showers and rain. Elsewhere, Fine and warm!…[Scene 1]

WINSTON: That’s not what I’m talking about. When you go to the quarry tomorrow, take a good look at old Harry. Look into his eyes, John. Look at his hands. They’ve changed him. They’ve turned him to stone. Watch him work with that chisel and hammer. Twenty perfect blocks of stone. Nobody else can do it like him. He loves stone. That’s why they’re nice to him. He’s forgotten himself. He’s forgotten everything…why he’s here, where he comes from. That’s happening to me John. I’ve forgotten why I’m here… [Scene 3]

[In the following scene, part of Scene 4, Winston and John perform Antigone for the other cellmates, Winston plays Antigone, John plays King Creon]

WINSTON: Who made the law forbidding the burial of my brother?

JOHN: The State…

WINSTON: When Polynices died in battle, all that remained was the empty husk of his body. He could neither harm nor help any man again. What lay on the battlefield waiting for Hodoshe to turn rotten, belonged to God. You are only a man, Creon. Even as there are laws made by men, so too are there others that come from God…

JOHN: Your words reveal only that obstinacy of spirit which has brought nothing but tragedy to your people. First you break the law. Now you insult the State.

WINSTON: Just because I ask you to remember that you are only a man?

JOHN: And to add insult to injury you gloat over your deeds! JOHN: [again addressing the audience]. You have heard all the relevant facts. Needless now to call the state witnesses who would testify beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty…There was a law. The law was broken. The law stipulated its penalty. My hands are tied. Take her from where she stands, straight to the Island! There wall her up in a cell for life, with enough food to acquit ourselves of the taint of her blood.

WINSTON: [to the audience]. Brothers and Sisters of the Land! I go now on my last journey. I must leave the light of day forever, for the Island, strange and cold, to be lost between life and death. So, to my grave, my everlasting prison, condemned alive to solitary death.
[Tearing off his wig and confronting the audience as Winston, not Antigone.] Gods of our Fathers! My Land! My Home!Time waits no longer. I go now to my living death, because I honoured those things to which honour belongs.

[The two men take off their costumes and then strike their ‘set’. They then come together and, as in the beginning, their hands come together to suggest handcuffs, and their right and left legs to suggest ankle-chains. They start running…John mumbling a prayer and Winston a rhythm for their three-legged run.The siren wails.Fade to blackout.]

Credit: Excerpted from The Island by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. The play was first performed on July 2nd, 1973 in Cape Town. Copyright © New York: Viking Press, 1974. Reprint courtesy of the author