No Man's Island: Fugard, Kani, and Ntshona's <i>The Island</i>

Barbara Goff and Michael Simpson

in Crossroads in the Black Aegean

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780199217182
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712388 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

No Man's Island: Fugard, Kani, and Ntshona's The Island

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This chapter investigates The Island, devised jointly by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. It enquires into how the play, when witnessed in performance, seems to be both an arena of real historical forces coursing across the stage and yet, since the demise of apartheid, a ritual re-enactment. These two versions of itself are coordinated in the play-within-the-play, the Antigone, itself staged as both a dead, oppressive letter at the heart of The Island and as a vehicle of liberation that erupts from and yet energizes the larger play. To stage this internal play requires a submission to the European canon, but this very submission permits Winston to find his own voice, and that of his people, within and beyond the voice of Antigone. Scripts of routinely baleful authority are thereby re-made as pretexts for a dramatic liberation.

Keywords: The Island; Athol Fugard; John Kani; Winston Ntshona; apartheid; ritual; liberation; European canon; play-within-a-play

Chapter.  23397 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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