What Is the Story of The Road to Mecca?
Set in apartheid South Africa, The Road to Mecca is based on the true story of Helen Martins, an elderly woman who, after her husband’s death, reconstructed her home and front yard into an array of glittering art. When Helen gets an unexpected visit from Elsa, a spirited young teacher who is inspired by Helen’s work, Elsa discovers that Helen is being coerced out of her home by the local church. Elsa convinces Helen to stay put and continue creating art, even though suspicious clues around the house suggest that Helen may be having difficulty taking care of herself. To Elsa’s disdain, Pastor Marius Byleveld pays a visit, hoping Helen will take an open room in the church’s old-age home. Elsa and Byleveld both state their arguments, but the final decision is one that only Helen can make.
Under Gordon Edelstein’s sensitive direction, the starry cast brings out the best of what’s on the page.Review by Joe Dziemianowicz from New York Daily News
Michael Yeargan has designed a jaw-dropping set—a tchotchke-filled explosion of paint and glass and glitter, of weathered wood, comfy quilts and soft tapestries.Review by Melissa Rose Bernardo from Entertainment Weekly
What is The Road to Mecca Like?
The Road to Mecca is an impassioned drama that centers on the political and personal choices of Miss Helen. Rosemary Harris, Jim Dale and Carla Gugino deliver passionate performances as they pose arguments why Miss Helen should—or shouldn’t—stay in her home. The play is set in Helen’s modest home, and most of the action takes place around the dining room table. Athol Fugard’s powerful dialogue is gripping and highly emotional, and there are very few lighthearted moments in this intense production.
Is The Road to Mecca Good for Kids?
The Road to Mecca contains occasional coarse language, and the show contains some adult plot elements that aren’t appropriate for young children. Older teens who are interested in South African art and politics may sink their teeth into the production, but otherwise, the dialogue may go over their heads.