The stage production of Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The Promise, will have its world premiere in Cape Town this September.
The production is directed by internationally acclaimed, multiple award-winning director Sylvaine Strike, and will be presented from 14 September to 6 October at The Star Theatre at the Homecoming Centre (formerly The Fugard Theatre) in Cape Town. It will then transfer to The Market Theatre on The John Kani stage from 18 October to 5 November.
Adapted for the stage by Galgut and Strike, The Promise’s cast is made up of Rob van Vuuren as Anton, Kate Normington as Ma and Maman, Frank Opperman as Pa / Rabbi / Moti, Chuma Sopotela as Salome, Cintaine Schutte as Tannie Marina / Desiree, Jenny Stead as Astrid, Albert Pretorius as Dominee Simms / Ockie / Dean / Jake / Father Batty, Sanda Shandu as Lukas / Bob / Politician and Jane de Wet as Amor.
The Promise is set on a small farm outside Pretoria, and centres around the Swart family and Salome, the Sotho woman who has worked for them her whole life. The Swarts have promised Salome their plot of land as well as the small house it holds, but are now refusing to give it up.
In a discussion process spanning almost two years, Galgut and Strike have identified a visual language through which this seminal family drama will unfold, supported by a uniquely chorus-driven narration.
“Our recent workshop week was an extraordinary process of discovery with the author, cast and creative team. They were absolutely formidable! We were able to spend time decoding The Promise as a novel, and develop a physical, poetic language to turn it into a theatre encounter,” says Strike. “It’s been an honour to work with the script penned by Damon, which harnesses his novel in all its beauty, humour and devastation. He is a master storyteller, writing remarkable prose with a profoundly complex understanding of human relationships.”
Speaking on Strike’s work and signature theatrical style, Galgut says, “I am a great fan of Sylvaine’s work. The detailed physical transformations, vivid imagery, pathos and hilarity of her productions remain in audience’s hearts long after a show has ended. Her directorial signature, seen in her work on productions such as Beckett’s Endgame, Firefly, Molière’s Tartuffe, and Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class, draws on the poetry of the performer’s body as primary story teller. She is the perfect director to bring The Promise to life on stage and I am greatly looking forward to seeing the final result!”
Bookings for both cities are now open via Webtickets.