Published on Morgan Hill Life’s website on January 25, 2018
“The Road to Mecca” will definitely keep your attention that has three absolutely superlative actors literally leaping into complicated roles the touch the heart. South African playwright Athol Fugard takes us on a two hour and forty minute look at a unique life. The play length sounds way too long and my reaction was “OMG, this is too long,” but, wow! It turned out it to go by fast. The plotline and dialogue held me spell bound to the last line.
Miss Helen was an elderly South African widow that marched to her own drum to the consternation of her neighbors. She escapes into her own world of sculpting in her back yard with works of art all facing Mecca. Generations with all the bumps and grinds of life as time passes in a blink of an eye and the ping of a piano key. There are moments that it all becomes a little overwhelming until you get into the rhythm of the changes and then it all becomes quite clear. The beginning and the ultimate end that she knows is there that’s a little unnerving for a moment but emotionally honest. The Revered Marious Byleveld (well played by John Baldwin) is a pastor in the village who wants Miss Helen ( A superb Diane Tasca) to move from her home to a retirement home. Elsa (An outstanding Briana Mitchell) a young teacher and best friend of Helen’s feels she should keep her way of life and independence. You must see this play to understand all the interweaving of the decisions that are made and the final outcome.
Elizabeth Kruse Craig directs with a tight fist there is no room to fiddle around with the fast moving dynamics. Fugard’s “The Road to Mecca” holds its own and reveals a depth of emotion in some of us that we did not know we had.
Helen Martin lived in Nieu Bethesda, Eastern Cape, South Africa and created Owl House with her art and it is to this day a favorite tourist and heritage site.
Set Designer Ting Na Wang’s with Norm Beamer’s set construction hits its mark. Lighting by Ben Hemmen and Sound by Rachel Bratt with costumes by Diane Tasca bring in a five star delivery for this comfortable, intimate theatre,
For an evening of well done startling reality, “The Road To Mecca” serves an very special evening that will stay with the audience long after the curtain had dropped.
“The Road To Mecca” details
Where: The Pear Theatre at 1110 La Avenida St.- Mountain View
Running time:2 hours and 40 minutes
Tickets : $35 discounts for seniors and students
Reservations and information: (650)254-1148 or visit www.thepear,org
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