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Girl in the Yellow Dress

27 Sep 2011 - 11 Dec 2011

Venue: Laager Theatre
Duration: 90 minutes
Age Restriction: 13

Best New South African Play
Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role

Best Director

The Girl in the Yellow Dress premiered at the National Grahamstown Arts Festival in 2010 followed by a sold-out seasons at both the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and the Traverse Theatre for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival. It then transferred to Live Theatre in Newcastle, the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Stockholms Stadsteater – again playing to full houses. Coming home, it played to almost full capacity from its first day – and now returns to the Market Theatre due to popular demand. Opening on 27 September 2011, with new cast member Kate Liquorish as Celia, this promises to be a theatre experience to cherish.
Originally inspired by Ovid’s story Echo and Narcissus and psychoanalytic writings on narcissism, The Girl in the Yellow Dress is set in contemporary Paris and deals with the exchanges between Celia, a beautiful English teacher in her late twenties, and Pierre, her younger French-Congolese pupil.
Brimming with humour, rage and longing, this internationally celebrated South African play provides a minute exploration of an increasingly hazardous romantic entanglement and an insight into some of the tensions between the ‘first’ and ‘third’ worlds. Part psychological thriller and part a State of the Nation analysis, it tackles issues such as language, power, identity, sex, past trauma, class, exile and refugees – tensions that run through South African society and beyond.
After seeing this play in Edinburgh, the National Theatre in London commissioned Craig Higginson’s next play, Little Foot, which will premier at the 2012 Olympics. Since opening, The Girl in the Yellow Dress already has new productions emerging in Salisbury, Chicago and New York. The script has been published by Oberon Books in London and is in its second print run. This is Higginson’s second original play after the internationally acclaimed Dream of the Dog, which transferred to London’s West End last year.
This production is directed once again by theatre veteran Malcolm Purkey, Artistic Director of the Market Theatre, best known for his international hit Sophiatown. The talented Cape-Town-based Kate Liquorish brings a fresh interpretation of Celia and rising soapie star Nat Ramabulana returns as Pierre (Nat was nominated for Naledi and Fleur du Cap awards for this role last year).

South African Reviews of The Girl in the Yellow Dress:

‘a glorious and intense piece of theatre … flawless … Higginson’s play is an enormously welcome addition to the local theatre scene’ Lesley Stones, Artslink

‘a liberating new avenue for SA theatre … a rich, complex and moving production that fully deserves the accolades it received in Grahamstown, Cape Town, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Glasgow and Stockholm’ Chris Thurman, Financial Mail

‘a piece of theatre with the delicacy and power of a single violin string holding a sustained, and yet deeply resonant note’ Theresa Edlmann, Cue

‘Higginson proves he is a new writing talent to be reckoned with, who fearlessly pushes the boundaries of what is considered ‘safe’ and predictable … an intelligent and challenging work that exposes the rot within us all’ Christina Kennedy, Sunday Times

‘Higginson has crafted a sophisticated and complex piece of work that will become a new benchmark for South African theatre’ Mary Corrigall, Sunday Independent

‘superb theatre’ Moira de Swardt, Artslink

‘[Higginson’s] writing is as taut and ultimately terrifying as any amoral Jacobean tragedy … a wondrous blend or realism and romance … the audience held its collective breath’ Mary Jordan, Business Day

‘a special play that is dark, twisted, profound, funny, unnerving, witty and beautiful … Higginson’s mordant wit draws frequent laughs, but this is no romantic comedy. It is a scathingly honest story that plays jump-rope with the relationship between truth and lies, love and hate, sex and violence. It’s also quite brilliant.’ Zane Henry, The Star Tonight

‘Prose is at the beautiful core of this play: crisp, frank and descriptive, it’s written with an adoration of the city … unforgettably.’ Robyn Sassen, Jewish Chronicle

‘intelligent and subtle use of language and dialogue. Just beneath the verbal sparring is a vast landscape where concepts like race, truth and sex are endlessly examined … a fascinating production, showing the possibilities that abound when Europe and Africa are cleverly brought together.’ Percy Zvomuya, Mail and Guardian

Reviews from the Edinburgh Festival
“Higginson…is clearly gifted. He not only filters pressing concerns about race, prejudice and power through a highly charged two-hander, but he wraps it all up in a witty discourse about language itself.”
Daily Telegraph ★★★★
“…it is unusual and fascinating to see a play investigate the extent to which words can shape our thoughts and feelings as much as vice versa.”
Financial Times ★★★★
“exposes some painfully ugly truths about race and class, wealth and victimhood…written and directed with great skill…”
Scotsman ★★★★
“Higginson’s slick, precise dialogue builds the tension nicely,…There is, quite plainly, a formidable intellect at play…This piece challenges our received assumptions about ideology, language and sexuality to strong effect and comes recommended to thoughtful audiences.”
The List ★★★★
“Craig Higginson…has developed this spell-binding two-hander…You’d be hard pressed to find a sexier scene this festival than the shared naked foot stroking that turns nasty, then violent..”
What’s On Stage ★★★★
“…this gripping two-hander is a highlight of the Traverse programme.”  Evening Standard ★★★★

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Kate Liquorish
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