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Master Harold'...and the Boys - Full Length Play, Drama

Master Harold'...and the Boys

Athol Fugard

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Full Length Play, Drama


ISBN: 9780573640391

"Fugard creates a blistering fusion of the personal and the political." - The New York Times

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Media | Author | Now Playing | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Mandatory Music/Media Fee: $15 per performance


Full Length Play


90 minutes

Time Period - 1950s

Settings Of Play - The St. Georges Park Tea Room on a wet and windy Port Elizabeth afternoon in 1950 South Africa.


Interior Set

Period Costumes


Strong Language




College Theatre / Student, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


From Broadway

Winner! 1982 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding New Play

Winner! 1983 London Critics' Circle Theatre Award, Best Play

Winner! 1983 London Evening Standard Award, Best Play

Nominee! 1982 Tony® Award, Best Play

The role that won Zakes Mokae a Tony® Award brought Danny Glover back to the New York stage for the Roundabout Theatre's revival of this searing coming-of-age story, considered by many to be Fugard’s masterpiece. A white teen who has grown up in the affectionate company of the two black waiters who work in his mother’s tea room in Port Elizabeth learns that his viciously racist, alcoholic father is on his way home from the hospital. An ensuing rage unwittingly triggers his inevitable passage into the culture of hatred fostered by apartheid.


"One of those depth charge plays [that] has lasting relevance [and] can triumphantly survive any test of time [...] The story is simple, but the resonance that Fugard brings to it lets it reach beyond the narrative, to touch so many nerves connected to betrayal and guilt. An exhilarating play [...] It is a triumph of playmaking, and unforgettable." - New York Post

"Fugard creates a blistering fusion of the personal and the political." - The New York Times

"This revival brings out [the play's] considerable strengths." - NY Daily News

Check out These photos from the Signature Theatre's production of "Master Harold"...and the Boys in November 2016.

"Master Harold" ...And the Boys made its premiere on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre on May 4, 1982.





Role(s) for Black Actor(s), All Male


  • Signature Theatre trailer

Athol Fugard

Athol Fugard

Athol Fugard is an internationally acclaimed South African playwright whose best-known work deals with the political and social upheaval of the apartheid system in South Africa. He was educated at the University of Cape Town. His plays include The Captain's Tiger, Valley Song, My Children! My Africa, A Lesson from Aloes, The Island, and the award-winning Sizwe Banzi is Dead. Mr. Fugard has ... view full profile

Now Playing
Gerald Altwies 6/8/2017 5:01 AM
Set in an empty tea room on a rainy afternoon in Port Elizabeth,S.A., each character, each scene, each moment of this story miraculously unfolds to take its place on the world stage where we hear once again a version of one of mankind's saddest stories. And yet, Fugard hints at hope.
R Bowman 12/4/2013 8:25 AM
Master Harold … and the boys is a classic play that captures a poignant time in history through sincere and multi-dimensional characters. Athol Fugard tells a story of a family during apartheid using specific dialogue and dialects that reflect the extreme points of view during the time. Fugard has the ability to write a political play that is warm, engaging and educational.
Beth Henderson 5/7/2013 12:50 AM
South African playwright, Athol Fugard investigates the effect of inherited racism in Master Harold...and the Boys. Two middle-aged black men, Sam and Willy, begin as companions to the young white boy, Hally, in South Africa in 1950. Their relationship begins on equal ground but news that the hospital will release Hally's alcoholic father divides them along a racial boundary. Fugard took inspiration for Master Harold from his own personal experience of growing up as a white boy in South Africa. His love of his characters and delicate hope for reconciliation reflects back on the wrong he did to a close friend in his past.  It shows that racism and hate is passed from generation to generation. If the cycle does not stop it will continue relentlessly, but there is always hope for the next generation to break it.

Master Harold continues to be an important piece of writing to this day. Fugard tackles the complexities of race on both the private and the general scale. This is one specific story of inherited hate, but a reader could also apply this play to the world at large. His elegant use of plot and dialogue creates a play that both educates personal experience and mandates the greater world to change.

Athol Fugard proves to be one of the most important playwrights alive today in terms of both literary merit and sociological importance. Using this play in a lesson plan would add a great deal to the classroom. Anyone in high school or above would be able to take a great deal away from this in terms of dramatic storytelling and sociological culture. Any theatre, adult or professional, would truly be able to sink their teeth into this complex and powerful work.

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