Introduction & Overview of Boesman & Lena

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Boesman & Lena Summary & Study Guide Description

Boesman & Lena Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on Boesman & Lena by Athol Fugard.

Athol Fugard's Boesman & Lena is one of the playwright's best-known and most widely respected dramatic works. It established Fugard's reputation as a major playwright. Boesman & Lena was first produced at the Rhodes University Little Theatre in Grahamstown, South Africa, on July 10,1969. Fugard played Boesman in this production. The play was first produced in the United States in an Off-Broadway production at the Circle in the Square Theatre in 1970. This production won an Obie Award from the Village Voice for Most Distinguished Foreign Play of the season.

Like many of Fugard's plays, Boesman & Lena focuses on non-white characters and includes an element of social protest. Set in the mudflats outside of the playwright's native Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the title characters are an ill-matched "colored " (a South African term that describes people of mixed race) couple who have been beaten down by society. From its first productions, the play has been praised for its frank depiction of the affects of apartheid on people of color.

But critics also applaud Fugard because his play transcends time and place. Boesman & Lena can be seen as a metaphor for oppressed people of all nationalities, an exploration of the difficulty in relationships between men and women, and the need for human kindness, compassion, and hope. In a review of the original Off-Broadway production, the New Republic's Stanley Kauffmann wrote: "This is not a protest play, though the pain of race hatred flames through it; it becomes, quickly and surely, a drama of all human beings in their differing captivities, suffering from and inflicting hate."

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Boesman & Lena from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.