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What Is the Story of The Train Driver?
Set in South Africa and based on true events, The Train Driver is the story of a troubled white train driver named Roelf who arrives at an unmarked graveyard. Roelf asks Simon, a black gravedigger, to help him search for the grave of a woman and her baby—but Roelf isn’t sure of the woman’s name. As the visitor becomes more and more distraught, he finally reveals that he had accidentally killed the woman and her child as they ran onto the tracks in front of his train. As his story unfolds, Roelf struggles to come to terms with his own grief while Simon, silent and stoic, listens.
Mr. Fugard, the South African playwright who has chronicled the tortured landscape of his native land for more than 50 years, continues to write with compassion and insight about the social and economic legacies left behind by apartheid.Review by Charles Isherwood from The New York Times
[Ritchie] Coster’s performance is heartfelt and believable.Review by Joe Dziemianowicz from New York Daily News
What Is The Train Driver Like?
The Train Driver features a cavernous set filled with mounds of sand and debris, serving as the hundreds of unmarked graves Roelf must wander through in his quest to find the unnamed woman. Throughout the course of the play, Roelf unloads his emotional burden on Simon in emotional monologues, while the gravedigger, poverty-stricken and earning meager pay to bury “sleeping people,” digs graves, eats and sleeps in a small shack. The somber production, written and directed by Athol Fugard, is meditation on life, death, guilt and race in post-Apartheid South Africa.
Is The Train Driver Good For Kids?
No. Due to the disturbing subject matter, The Train Driver is too dark and scary for children. Older teens who are interested in South African politics may enjoy the production.