100 World Class South Africans: Yael Farber

2013-08-27 12:00

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All the world’s a stage

Yael Farber’s work packs a powerful punch and has earned the playwright and theatre director acclaim in North America, the UK, Australia, Japan, Europe and Africa.

Her plays are often based on authentic testimonies, such as deathrow prisoner Duma Kumalo (He Left Quietly) or the experiences of the cast in the dying days of apartheid (Amajuba).

She’s transplanted Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar into contemporary Africa in Sezar, and Aeschylus’s Oresteia trilogy into South Africa’s TRC hearings in Molora.

She is currently creating a new work, Nirbhaya, in Mumbai – about the treatment of women in India – for premiere later this year in Edinburgh.

Farber’s current triumph, Mies Julie, based on Strindberg’s Miss Julie but set on a Karoo farm during SA’s annual Freedom Day celebrations, won the 2012 Best of Edinburgh Festival Award.

It was also among The New York Times’ Top 10 productions of 2012, and is now running in London to rave reviews.

No matter their narrative, her works always focus on human stories, powerfully casting light on the sociopolitical realities of countries while reaching for change.

For Farber, theatre is a place where she believes we can transcend our shattered histories, honour the past and envisage the future.

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