The Road to Mecca

Review Roundup: ‘The Road to Mecca’

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by Roundabout


The New York Times
Those Who Seek to Make Art Often Find Themselves Alone
Ben Brantley

“It makes you catch your breath. Rosemary Harris asks us to look close to find the creative soul within. And with the generosity of a great artist, she rewards us with the illusion that we have discovered the majesty of her character all by ourselves. Carla Gugino is bracingly vital and Jim Dale is first-rate in this powerful production.”

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Marilyn Stasio

"If anyone is Broadway royalty, it's Rosemary Harris, captivating as an eccentric visionary who strikes her pious neighbors as batty, but who embodies the last flickering flame of artistic freedom in her politically embattled nation."

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Jim Dale, Carla Gugino, Rosemary Harris in 'The Road to Mecca'; Photo Credit: Joan Marcus, 2011

Time Out New York
Rosemary Harris glows in a flickering revival of Athol Fugard's drama.
Adam Feldman

"The play catches fire in Act II, culminating in a beautiful speech in which Helen describes the lonely journey to her fanciful concrete Mecca. It's Fugard at his lyrical best, and the indomitable Harris—at 84, still inspiringly sharp—delivers it with marvelous ragged dignity."

Read the entire review.

New York Post
Luminous Performers Brighten 1984 'Road'
Elisabeth Vincentelli

"The drama flourishes in the second act, when local minister Marius Byleveld (Jim Dale, making a welcome return to the stage) drops by.  He's trying to persuade Miss Helen to leave her house for a retirement home, and at first he looks like a manipulative, judgmental creep.  But the reverend is more complex than he seems, and Fugard endows him with the same layered depth he affords the women. There are no obvious villains and heroes here, and no easy resolutions, either."

Read the entire review.

The Road to Mecca is playing at the American Airlines Theatre through March 4, 2012.  For more information, click here.

Related Categories:
2011-2012 Season, Roundabout Roundup, The Road to Mecca


A Note on Miss Helen by Athol Fugard

Posted on: December 30th, 2011 by Roundabout


It was a drive into the Karoo to spend a holiday on a friend's farm and the route I drove that took me for the first time through what had only been a name on a map until then: New Bethesda, a small village in what turned out to be an absolutely magnificent setting. As I drove through it, I couldn't help responding to it, because I was actually born in that part of the world—as a matter of fact, I was born fifteen miles away from New Bethesda in a place called Middelburg. Driving to my friend's farm I was struck by its isolation and thought to myself, hell, this would be quite a nice place to have a house to escape from the city if ever I felt like getting away from the world. I mentioned this to my friend, who said, "Well, you know, the houses are dirt-cheap in New Bethesda because there has been a move from the rural areas into the cities. You could pick up a house there very cheaply." So on the way back to Port Elizabeth, I stopped and looked around, and I discovered there were houses for sale very, very cheaply.

I returned three months later with the express purpose of buying a house, which I still own. In the course of looking at various houses and getting to know a few of the locals, reference was made to a rather strange character who lived in the village. Her name was Helen Martins and the people were kind of apologetic about her because they regarded her as a little crazy. They said that her craziness took the form of rather silly statues and sculpture that she made and had all around her house. I obviously couldn't resist the temptation of strolling in the direction of her house and seeing Miss Helen's "Mecca" for the first time. She was still alive at that point but had become virtually a total recluse. So, apart from seeing her in the distance once or twice, and nodding at her when she was among her statues and I happened to be walking past, I never got to know her personally.

Rosemary Harris in 'The Road to Mecca'; Photo Credit: Joan Marcus, 2011

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Related Categories:
2011-2012 Season, The Road to Mecca

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On the Marquee: ‘The Road to Mecca’

Posted on: December 19th, 2011 by Bradley Sanchez


The marquees for The Road to Mecca, starring Rosemary Harris, Carla Gugino, and Jim Dale, are up at the American Airlines Theatre!  The Road to Mecca began previews on December 16, 2011 and opens on January 17, 2012.  Learn more.

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Related Categories:
2011-2012 Season, The Road to Mecca

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