A sequel to his 1995 post-apartheid play Valley Song
, Athol Fugards latest work, Coming Home
, tells of the decimation of one persons dream and the recasting of hope from its ashes. The luminous Deidrie Henry portrays Veronica, a once-aspiring singer who returns to her rural childhood home, child in hand, after 10 bitterly disappointing and difficult years in Cape Town. Resilient and nurturing despite her anguish, Veronica has a single-minded purpose: to establish a home for her son Mannetjie (Timothy Taylor and then by Matthew Elam as he ages), who will need support and protection in the event of her demise from AIDS. With her beloved grandfather, her only relative, dead, she turns for help to her childhood friend Alfred (Thomas Silcott), a sweet, slow-minded man who has always loved her dearly but whom her son despises. Spanning five years, the story depicts Veronicas transformation from a buoyant woman to a sick but seething, determined molder of her sons future to, finally, a bedridden invalid, yet with enough energy to foster her boys burgeoning ambition to write. Part of Fugards ongoing reflection of his native countrys woes, the play contains sometimes burdensome exposition, which is offset by its masterfully drawn characters and deeply embedded humor. Under Stephen Sachs direction, Henry shines, while Silcott is equally outstanding. As Mannetjie, whom we watch evolving into manhood, Taylor and especially Elam both impress; Adolphus Ward skillfully fashions the ghost of Veronicas grandfather. Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Aug. 29. (No perf July 4.) (323) 663-1525.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: June 20. Continues through Aug. 29, 2009