Chronicle of a Karoo family


ct laaste karretjiegraf review

DIE LAASTE KARRETJIEGRAF. Directed by Athol Fugard, with Erica Wessels, Ivan Abrahams, Riaan Visman, Richard September, Ephraim Gordon and Kim Pietersen. At the Fugard Theatre until February 23. TYRONE AUGUST reviews.

IN WHAT may be his last play, Athol Fugard brings together some of the key elements in his writing over the years. Once again it takes place in his beloved Eastern Cape, with his gaze unflinchingly on the plight of a marginalised and forgotten group of people.

This time, the focus is on the sheep-shearers who used to move around with their families from one farm to another in the Karoo. It is prompted by a story told to Fugard by his mother, and grounded in an anthropological study by Riana Steyn (whom he generously credits as a co-writer).

At the centre of Die Laaste Karretjiegraf are four siblings: Pienkies (Visman), Toek-Toek (September) and the twins Outjie (Gordon) and Rokkies (Pietersen). They are cared for by their grandmother Ouma Mieta, as their father, Koot (Abrahams), is in jail.

We meet the children when they are placing stones on their grandmother’s grave. As they mourn her death, a brutal tale of poverty and suffering unfolds. Their only source of income was Ouma’s monthly pension. Sometimes all there was to eat was a pot of thin porridge, “wat al dunner word” (which just gets thinner).

What made it even worse for Ouma Mieta was that she suffered from rheumatism. Living in a dwelling with a corrugated iron roof only added to her pain and discomfort.

When their grandmother dies, Pienkies tries to comfort the other children by telling them that it was a welcome release from her constant suffering. Now utterly alone in the pitiless Karoo, the children have to fend for themselves. As the eldest child, Pienkies does what he can to ensure their survival. What makes it even more difficult is that Toek-Toek is brain-damaged as a result of a childhood injury.

It is during this harrowing period that their father is released from jail. The play takes an even more traumatic turn: it emerges that Koot was imprisoned for the murder of his second wife during a drunken rampage (in fact, he is also blamed for the death of his first wife – the children’s mother).

It is into this scenario, fraught with anger and resentment, that there is a visitor from the past. Sarah (Wessels), who once lived in the area, knows Koot’s family well, and later even did research on such itinerant families in the Karoo.

When she meets Koot at Ouma Mieta’s grave, their shared memories initially make their encounter an affectionate one. However, it eventually descends into a raging confrontation. Sarah bitterly blames Koot for the deaths of his wives and the desperate plight of his children.

However, even though he acknowledges his guilt, Koot also lashes out fiercely at Sarah. He is no caricature: Fugard allows him to eloquently speak for himself. Whether or not you agree with Koot, he raises poignant questions about crime, punishment and forgiveness.

Where the story is weaker, though, is when it tries to provide some kind of justification for Sarah’s onslaught. Attributing her rage to the death of her sister in a car accident as the result of a drunk driver seems a little too contrived. Was her closeness to Koot’s family not sufficient reason to assail Koot?

The same question can be raised about Sarah’s university background. Did Fugard really have to make her an anthropology student? Instead of giving her additional insight into the lives of Koot and his family, this only makes her come across as a voyeur.

Yes, yes. Sarah is based on real life: she is very obviously an imaginatively recreated version of Steyn. But this persona does not lend any intimacy to the lives of the play’s characters. In fact, it only adds distance; it makes Sarah seem interested in their lives not out of empathy, but out of a detached, professional interest.

Obviously Fugard was attempting to find a way to allow the lives of people who come from very different backgrounds – culturally and otherwise – to intersect.

However, the result is not altogether satisfactory. Sarah’s dialogue also fails to engage the audience at times. It comes across as a judgemental diatribe rather than a moving exposition on Koot’s culpability. Wessels’s delivery, in some instances, does not help either.

This is not entirely her fault, though. At times, the language in the play comes across as a little too stilted (this is Fugard’s first play in Afrikaans).

But ultimately there can be no doubt that, in Koot, Fugard has created another memorable character. He is wonderfully brought to life by Abrahams, who imbues the character with an intriguing blend of vulnerability and strength.

The roles of Koot’s children are also performed with conviction, and Wessels – as the catalyst for the denouement of the play – is generally alive to the various challenges that her role places on her.

Saul Radomsky’s innovative set design and Mannie Manim’s minimalist lighting also help to depict the desolation in the lives of the characters and in the landscape.

But, despite all the despair and degradation, the play still holds out hope and the promise of redemption. After all these years, Fugard still believes in the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

l To book, call Computicket at 0861 915 8000, or see www.compu ticket.co.za


sign up
 
Newspaper Subscriptions
joocypie
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
TT200
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Baabbygirl
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
briluu
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 37.
View Profile
Dlodlolas75
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 49.
View Profile
hellena_596
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
LadyJimpster
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
nwaolisa
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 41.
View Profile
runlolarun
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 46 and 52.
View Profile
maria8022
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
hlehle888
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 50.
View Profile
Mag137
I'm a 60 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 57 and 67.
View Profile
mello_185
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 60.
View Profile
ally_charmy80
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
RareT0paz
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 60.
View Profile
Foxy88
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
vicky74
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
0cean_ntr
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
spesy59
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
Royalness
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Noxy727
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 36.
View Profile
zama1zn
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 47.
View Profile
simphy337
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
DDeeZA
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 50.
View Profile
smilyz
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
kgotlas
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Cyndilouper
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Smashizo
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 37.
View Profile
Emjae
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Ticom_199
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 45.
View Profile
Leratomntande
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
samke_722
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 25.
View Profile
leez83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
danda100
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 52.
View Profile
gloml66
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 58.
View Profile
ME_JE
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
armor2014
I'm a 55 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 70.
View Profile
Shazzyyyy
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Rivee
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 32.
View Profile
MissD123
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 47.
View Profile
xoxohayleyxoxo
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Rosey903
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
BOTSHELOMAN
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 42.
View Profile
Yahoo
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 60.
View Profile
lulubaby
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 70.
View Profile
MASESHIA
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 40.
View Profile
Voicelady
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
ChocLatte
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
Sthandwasakhesit
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 35.
View Profile
Funfoodie3012
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
kauwel
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 55.
View Profile
CYAGal
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Zama101
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 100.
View Profile
Mistry_lady
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
marryme2014
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
ProVoq
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 70.
View Profile
LolliCandy
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
fungi1971
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
pumpania
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 40.
View Profile
SexLips
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
mitch09
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 40.
View Profile
Casiopiea40
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Roroe
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
Sweetlipsss627
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
kncyLuv
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
Curvz
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
sbobo736
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
kafze
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 45.
View Profile
Melone
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
curvalicious
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Mbaliholysexyness
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 27.
View Profile
Bathandwa83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 47.
View Profile
Noks76
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Garnet3107
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
TABIEE
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 100.
View Profile
Bonwel
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 36.
View Profile
PrincessEdelweiss
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
mcgoyer
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 35.
View Profile
FiftyshadesB
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
RealBlackPearl
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
tkay011
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
LavishT
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 25 and 27.
View Profile
Sweatma72
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Dudutuli246
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Raya_405
I'm a 52 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 55.
View Profile
fiksBee
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 40.
View Profile
mako_001
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 70.
View Profile
FanceFace
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 45.
View Profile
Thel_89_zzz
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
MeltChocolate
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
sassyfoxylady101
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
ntando_784
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
skati43
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Nola_505
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
Leematt
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 29.
View Profile
honeybee_036
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
sweetnessmgm
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 63.
View Profile
kiara_111
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 35.
View Profile
Calmine
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
ranga322
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 40.
View Profile
Mxo87
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
dlalo
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Gemini24
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
tsvoritsvoto
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 25.
View Profile
Phistos_Number_1
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
hawk619
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Deathrow5662
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Rendzo
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Diva1308
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
sweetman465
I'm a 67 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 62.
View Profile
Bento1
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
Mpeks
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Fanzonator
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
GD1
I'm a 70 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
LIONKING915
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
Moxion
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
bigbhele
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 55.
View Profile
mcD
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
TSKgosiemang
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Qtip
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 26 and 32.
View Profile
dlarah
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
shiva709
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
choeu
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Lucky123nxt
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 40.
View Profile
STONE_228
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
bangstar
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 23.
View Profile
TuEsDAy
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
loner729
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Oupa0414
I'm a 29 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
gothicD
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 37.
View Profile
charged
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
gario
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 50.
View Profile
Jb24golf
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 38.
View Profile
Thamza_77
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
mfhalim
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
mesut909
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
CoolnCalm
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
mattgeah
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Kelvin7777
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 56.
View Profile
Dayo78
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 50.
View Profile
Vbe2014
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
Chacal
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Thulani1234
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
lmn4life
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
dev_xoxox52
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 65.
View Profile
Eriqnes
I'm a 33 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
tonym
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 35.
View Profile
Ma1010n
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
bobbylava
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 31.
View Profile
mixido2
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
GastFR
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
Terror000
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Jono693
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
tripplekkkk
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
catcher182
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 20 and 24.
View Profile
JonnyBee
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 28.
View Profile
gwbyo
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 21 and 40.
View Profile
myth909
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Dalubuhle
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 45.
View Profile
THOKZANHLA
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 44.
View Profile
PoundzMm
I'm a 23 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 30.
View Profile
sbo123sss
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Washe
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
bloodmoney370
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
Minkh
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 29.
View Profile
SSBK547P
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Deejay_homy
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 42.
View Profile
shooter_949
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 50.
View Profile
IceTy
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 42.
View Profile
Sabloma
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 35.
View Profile
Ophion
I'm a 21 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Shadra143
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
Lawrence218
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
lookingforfunza
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 40.
View Profile
Seriousaboutlife325
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Siyabulela90
I'm a 24 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Mok_01
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Ernie_Manyesa
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 45.
View Profile
Clownstotheleftofme
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 41.
View Profile
Siwithpie
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 45.
View Profile
GWL321
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 46 and 56.
View Profile
Henry071
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Jabz_0
I'm a 29 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 36.
View Profile
Smooth_Kriminal
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Satisfactor99
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile

Business Directory