The Shadow of the Hummingbird OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • BROADWAY WORLD

  • TALKIN' BWAY

  • ACCESS

  • ARTES MAG

Opening Night:
March 26, 2014
Closing:
April 27, 2014

Theater: Long Wharf Theatre / 222 Sargent Drive, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

Legendary playwright Athol Fugard returns to the stage for the first time in 15 years in his newest play. When Fugard’s character is visited by his ten-year-old grandson (who is playing hooky from school) the two spend a memorable afternoon together. The boy reminds the old man of his lost sense of wonder, while the child is given a bit of hard-earned wisdom. In a charming meditation on the beauty and transience of the world around us, Fugard continues to mine the depths of the human spirit with profound empathy and heart.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Shadow of the Hummingbird

    Trying to Regain Childhood’s Magic | Athol Fugard in His Play ‘The Shadow of the Hummingbird’

    Charles Isherwood

    April 12, 2014: NEW HAVEN — “I’m sick of my rational existence in the ‘real world,’ ” the elderly man grumbles to his grandson. “I want to live once again in one full of mystery and magic and shadows I can play with.” At 10, the boy has also left behind the years when all new sights and sounds are exotic and exciting, and the imagination can meet the physical world on equal terms. In The Shadow of the Hummingbird, a short, sweet and very slight new play written by, and starring, the venerable South African playwright Athol Fugard, the old man tries to reawaken in his grandson (and in himself) an appreciation of the beauty and the wonder immanent in the world outside the windows of his study in Southern California. The play, having its premiere at the Long Wharf Theater here, opens with an introductory scene in which Mr. Fugard’s character bustles around this room, shuffling through piles of journals in search of a particular entry. (The scene, written by Paula Fourie, draws on Mr. Fugard’s own notebooks.) His energy seems boundless at first. But his joints aren’t as resilient as they used to be, and he curses gently (“Confound it!”) when he drops a pile of books he has just barely succeeded in retrieving from a tough spot.

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  • BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW OF The Shadow of the Hummingbird

    BWW Reviews: THE SHADOW OF THE HUMMINGBIRD in New Haven

    Sherry Shameer Cohen

    April 8, 2014: Shadows hover, shadows hide, shadows disappear and in Athol Fugard's new play, shadows illuminate. The Shadow of The Hummingbird is making its world premiere at the Long Warf Theatre and stars the octogenarian playwright in the lead. If those announcements raise flags, don't worry. Fugard proves he is still a powerful playwright and actor with The Shadow of The Hummingbird. The play packs a lot in its 60 minutes, and is performed without an interruption. It opens as Oupa (Fugard), wearing pajamas, vest and ski hat, is waiting for a visit from his grandson, Boba (played alternately by identical twins Aidan McMillan and Dermot McMillan). He is in his office in Southern California, which is charmingly cluttered with his notebooks, books, posters and miscellaneous things he accumulated over the years. "Where are my bloody eyes?" he asks in exasperation. His "spectacular spectacles" are in his pocket (of course!), but his real vision is through his grandson, who visits him frequently. More about this shortly. In the meanwhile, he searches for a specific passage in one his many notebooks, which are stashed here and there and are in various formats - spiral bound, marble composition books, leather diaries, anything. The introductory scene of this play is a long monologue, written by Paula Fourie from Fugard's own personal notebooks. Fugard is enthralling even while reading passages about his life and observations.

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  • TALKIN' BROADWAY REVIEW OF The Shadow of the Hummingbird

    The Shadow of the Hummingbird Long Wharf Theatre

    Fred Sokol

    April 13, 2014: Athol Fugard the actor takes to the stage for the first time in more than 15 years in The Shadow of the Hummingbird, by playwright Athol Fugard (with an introductory scene by Paula Fourie). This is a beautiful 60-minute reverie as lyrical as a lovely bird in flight. Long Wharf Theatre, in New Haven, presents Fugard along with either Aidan or Dermot McMillan (identical twins who alternate) in this world premiere through April 27th. Fugard, the masterful author of Blood Knot, Master Harold ... and the Boys, The Road to Mecca, My Children! My Africa! and many more profoundly telling plays, now opens a window upon his relationship with a 10-year-old grandson—and of the precise, poignant shadow that a hummingbird casts upon a wall. Eugene Lee, designing, has created a room (books, table, chairs ...) located in Southern California. Director Gordon Edelstein, working closely and precisely with Fugard, brings the touching script to life at Long Wharf's Stage II.

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  • ACCESS ATLANTA REVIEW OF The Shadow of the Hummingbird

    BWW Reviews: THE SHADOW OF THE HUMMINGBIRD in New Haven

    Sherry Shameer Cohen

    April 8, 2014: Shadows hover, shadows hide, shadows disappear and in Athol Fugard's new play, shadows illuminate. The Shadow of The Hummingbird is making its world premiere at the Long Warf Theatre and stars the octogenarian playwright in the lead. If those announcements raise flags, don't worry. Fugard proves he is still a powerful playwright and actor with The Shadow of The Hummingbird. The play packs a lot in its 60 minutes, and is performed without an interruption. It opens as Oupa (Fugard), wearing pajamas, vest and ski hat, is waiting for a visit from his grandson, Boba (played alternately by identical twins Aidan McMillan and Dermot McMillan). He is in his office in Southern California, which is charmingly cluttered with his notebooks, books, posters and miscellaneous things he accumulated over the years. "Where are my bloody eyes?" he asks in exasperation. His "spectacular spectacles" are in his pocket (of course!), but his real vision is through his grandson, who visits him frequently. More about this shortly. In the meanwhile, he searches for a specific passage in one his many notebooks, which are stashed here and there and are in various formats - spiral bound, marble composition books, leather diaries, anything. The introductory scene of this play is a long monologue, written by Paula Fourie from Fugard's own personal notebooks. Fugard is enthralling even while reading passages about his life and observations.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • ARTES MAGAZINE REVIEW OF The Shadow of the Hummingbird

    Long Wharf’s ‘Shadow of the Hummingbird’: By Shadows We Will be Taught

    Geary Danihy

    April 7, 2014: An old, somewhat cantankerous man wanders about a room beset by shadows from the past. He thumbs through journals he has kept for decades. Nothing but shadows. The one bright light in his rather drear days is his grandson, who visits him on a regular basis. The grandfather imparts wisdom, the grandson struggles to understand. Finally it is a shadow, The Shadow of a Hummingbird, that unites them. Such is the plot of Athol Fugard’s somewhat lightweight play receiving its world premiere at Long Wharf Theatre. Directed by Gordon Edelstein, the theater’s artistic director, and starring the playwright himself, Hummingbird has the feel of a short story. It runs slightly underwww.artesmagazine.com an hour, and a good chunk of that is taken up by Fugard’s character, Oupa, reading from said journals, this material written by Paula Fourie using extracts from Fugard’s unpublished journals. This padding—for that is what it is—seems to go on for just a bit too long, primarily because there doesn’t seem to be a connection between what Oupa reads as he samples jottings made over the decades. The play’s first five or 10 minutes has more the feel of a reading by an author dipping into his selected works, the tone being set by the first “reading,” which consists primarily of a very long list of birds—29 to be exact—that Oupa sighted over two summers some 25 years ago. The point? Not sure.

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