Stage and television star, Christo Davids, directs a stellar trio Abduragman Adams, Christian Bennett, and Stefan Erasmus, in Lyle Kessler’s critically acclaimed, Orphans, at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 11 to 28 October 2023, at 8 pm, with Saturday matinees at 3 pm.
In a strange, hilarious, and moving turn of events, two brothers have their lives disrupted when they abduct a mysterious wealthy businessman, Harold (played by Adams). The dark, yet comedic, story of the two grown orphans – the younger, sensitive, and reclusive Phillip (Erasmus) and the older Treat, a violent pickpocket and thief (Bennett) – are confronted by a dramatic twist of fate, landing them into a whirlpool of emotions, revelations and life-altering decisions. Their world is disrupted by Harold as nature clashes with nurture and all three characters venture into unknown territory.
Performed in English and Afrikaans, Davids has localised the story, setting the action of the play in a dilapidated house in Woodstock, Cape Town. Well known for his role as Errol in the tv soapie, 7de Laan, he directs television stars, Abduragmaan Adams (Suidooster, Indemnity, Blood and Water, Noem my Skoffie), Christiaan Bennett (Arendsvlei, Noem my Skollie, Suidooster) and Stefan Erasmus (Silverton Siege, Arendsvlei, Old Righteous Blues). The set design is by Leopoldt Senekal, lighting by Franky Steyn, and costumes by Marisa Steenkamp.
“I have always been intrigued by relationships between fathers and sons – flawed men raising boys to become men in the hope that they don’t inherit the same flaws,” explains Davids. “The relationship between an older and a younger brother, in the absence of a father, becomes even more intriguing, when the older brother must teach the younger brother lessons without enough life experience.”
He continues, “In South Africa today we see the results of the absence of this figure. This is the linchpin of this play. Two orphans left to their own devices navigating their way through the world without guidance. Reliant on each other to be validated without knowing what that means. The question remains, is a man’s nature really changed by the influence of other men around them, or are we just simply who we are, regardless?
This production marks 40 years since Orphans debuted in 1983 and has been produced all over the world to great success. When it premiered on Broadway in 2013, it was performed by Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster, and Tom Sturridge and was also adapted for film, starring Albert Finney as Harold. The New York Times described it as “theater for the senses and emotions.”
Over the years at The Baxter, Christo was seen in productions such as Booitjie and the Oubaas, Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, Some Like it Vrot, My Naam is Ellen Pakkies, and Scrooge. He directed the Platform 9 trilogy and Van Wyk: Storyteller of Riverlea. His play, which he wrote, Bullets over Bishop Lavis, also ran at The Baxter.
Orphans run at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 11 to 28 October 2023 at 8 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 3 p.m. There is an age restriction of 13 years.
- Venue: Golden Arrow Studio at Baxter Theatre
- Ticket prices: R120-R180
- Date: 11 to 28 October 2023
- Time: 8 pm (with Saturday matinees at 3 pm)
- Book tickets here: https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/Event.aspx?itemid=1534037850
Photography: Fiona McPherson