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What Is the Story of My Children! My Africa!?
Set in 1984, My Children! My Africa! is the story of Mr. M, an impassioned teacher at a black school in South Africa. Mr. M seeks a better life for his most promising student, Thami, by providing extra opportunities. When Mr. M forms a debate team with Thami and Isabel, an eager and competitive student from the nearby white school, Thami finds his passion and voice. Soon, the young man becomes less focused on his studies and more involved with political unrest in the community, creating a generational rift between Thami and his teacher. As Mr. M tries to convince Thami that words, not violence, are the answer to South Africa’s problems, Thami must decide whether to follow Mr. M’s advice or take to the streets to advocate for an end to apartheid.
Between Athol Fugard’s potent script and the cast that brings it vividly to life, Signature’s new production of “My Children! My Africa!” packs a one-two wallop. It deserves both of those exclamation points.Review by Joe Dziemianowicz from New York Daily News
[The] actors give a visceral life to sustained poetic notions that find the human inconsistency and inexorability in Mr. Fugard’s careful images.Review by Ben Brantley from The New York Times
What Is My Children! My Africa! Like?
This revival of Athol Fugard’s 1984 drama is set in Mr. M’s modest classroom in an Eastern Cape Karoo school surrounded by barbed wire. With Mr. M’s guidance, Thami and Isabel learn to work together as a team, despite being raised in two very different households. The production alternates between ensemble classroom scenes and monologues that convey the inner turmoil each character is experiencing. A transformative soundscape by Bobby McFerrin underscores the action, highlighting the radically changing world that lurks outside the classroom door.
Is My Children! My Africa! Good For Kids?
Although no violence is seen onstage, racial violence is discussed in My Children! My Africa! While young children are likely to be bored, the production is an excellent choice for older teens who are interested in South African history.