Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blood Knot finds the frayed places of brotherly bonds

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge THE TIES THAT BIND: Zachariah (Kenny Leon, left) and Morris (Tom Key)
  • THE TIES THAT BIND: Zachariah (Kenny Leon, left) and Morris (Tom Key)

It can be challenge for present-day audiences, especially younger ones, to put Athol Fugard’s anti-apartheid play Blood Knot into context. The United States and South Africa both currently have presidents of color, but Fugard debuted the two-actor play in 1961, even before Nelson Mandela began his 27-year prison term on Robben Island. At the time an act of political defiance, Blood Knot illustrates the pernicious effects of institutional racism even as it insists on the existence of a brotherhood of man that transcends skin color.

David H. Bell directed Blood Knot for Theatrical Outfit in 1998, and this summer, the company and True Colors Theatre have teamed up to bring back the production’s two stars, Tom Key and Kenny Leon (the respective theaters' artistic directors). The 1998 production crackled in the close quarters of 14th Street Playhouse’s second theater, while the current one, directed by the Alliance Theatre’s Susan V. Booth, proceeds at more of a low simmer (based on viewing the final afternoon preview before the play’s official premiere that night).

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(Photo by Brian Steely)

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