Boesman and Lena

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Boesman and Lena
Written by Athol Fugard
Characters Boesman
Date premiered 1969

Boesman and Lena is a play by South African playwright Athol Fugard.

The play was inspired by an incident in 1965 when Fugard was driving down a rural road in South Africa. He noticed an old lady walking along the road in the boiling-hot sun, miles from anywhere, and offered her a lift. She was overcome and cried with gratitude. She told him that her husband had just died and she was walking to another farm. If Fugard hadn’t stopped, she would have spent the night on the side of the road.[1] (It was a common practice in apartheid South Africa for farmers to evict worker’s families when the worker died).

What struck Fugard was that the woman was in pain and suffering but was far from defeated. This inspired him to write the play.

The play is a small-cast play showing the effect of apartheid on a few individuals and concerns a coloured man and woman walking from one shanty town to another.

It premiered at the Rhodes University Little Theatre in Grahamstown, South Africa in 1969. Fugard himself played the part of Boesman, Lena was played by Yvonne Bryceland and Glynn Day, a white actor, played the part of Outa in blackface.

Film versions[edit]

Two film adaptations of Fugard's play—one directed by Ross Devenish and starring Fugard and Bryceland and the other directed by John Berry and starring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett – were released in 1974 and 2000, respectively.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Boesman and Lena / Introduction". enotes. Retrieved 2008-03-06.