Charles J. Fourie

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Charles J. Fourie (born 1965, Potchefstroom)[1] is an acclaimed South African playwright and director.[2] Fourie staged his first play as a drama student at the Windybrow Theatre in 1985, and went on to receive the Henk Wybenga bursary as most promising student in the same year.

Career[edit]

He has written more than 50 works for the stage presented in South Africa and the United Kingdom over the past twenty five years. As a director and producer he has also worked with well-known South African and British actors such as Linda Marlowe, Samantha Bond, Tobie Cronje, Chris Gxalaba, Albert Maritz, Michelle Burgess, Jamie Bartlett, Trix Pienaar and more recently with Deon Lotz and Deirdre Wolhuter.

In 1994, he established the independent theatre company Cape Theatre Ensemble based in Cape Town, as an adhoc theatre production company. To date Cape Theatre Ensemble has staged over thirty productions including collaborations with other production companies.

Writing[edit]

Fourie's writing has been compared by literary and theatre critics with that of Athol Fugard.

“Comparisons with Athol Fugard – the granddaddy of South African theater – are inevitable, and indeed that towering presence lurks behind this drama in which black meets white at close quarters during the final years of apartheid." (Mark Cook – This Is London – review of Big Boys)

“Unlike his compatriot, Athol Fugard, he has the knack of simplification, a major talent in this country these days." – (Paul Nelson – Time Out – review of 'Big Boys')

His stories engage socio-political themes in award-winning plays like Big Boys, Vrygrond, Stander, Vrededorp, Kurtz, The Parrot Woman,[3] Goddess of Song, The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife, and more recently his acclaimed play Agterplaas.[1]

“Florence Jenkins must rate pretty high on the all-time best list and writer Charles J. Fourie has done grandly in devising a show which leaves little unturned in his depiction of the life and times of the American opera diva Florence Foster Jenkins, a character if ever there was one." (Wilhelm Snyman – Cape Times – review of Goddess of Song)

Play productions and adaptations[edit]

Big Boys was staged by the LA Ensemble in Los Angeles in 1993 and at the Warehouse Theatre (London) in 2002, and was a Time Out critics' choice. The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife was presented at the John Caird 'New Director's initiative at the Gatehouse theatre and at the Old Vic's 'New Voices' season (London) and has since been adapted for television. Two of his other plays, Stander and Vrededorp, were adapted as television feature films and broadcast on M-Net during 2006/07. More recently his play The Parrot Woman was staged at the Finborough Theatre in London and the Burton Taylor Studio Theater in Oxford.

During 2007 he translated and staged the British comedy Noises Off by Michael Frayn as Lawwe Geluide with a stellar cast. The production had a sell out tour of South Africa. His play Ella's Horses (Ella se Perde) opened at the Aardklop festival in 2007, and was nominated for a Best Actress award. His most recent play, Agterplaas, a searing depiction of a new generation of poverty stricken white South Africans opened in 2011 at the Karoo national Arts festival and has since been on tour and will continue with productions scheduled for 2012.

He has also been actively involved with promoting plays by fellow South African writers abroad and collaborated on 'A Season in South Africa' staged-readings at The Old Vic Theatre with British director Jeremy Bond; hosted by Antony Sher, John Kani and Janet Suzman. During 2006 he also acted as editor for the British publication New South African Plays published in the UK by Aurora Metro Publishers.[4]

Screenwriting[edit]

As a television screenwriter he worked as a script editor on various projects. Recent scriptwriting credits include Binnelanders (M-Net) and Deeltitel Dames for Penguin Films to be broadcast on KykNET in 2010. He also wrote a 40 episode radio drama series titled Inferno for RSG which was broadcast in 2010, and is currently writing a new 60 part series titled Seisoene to be broadcast in 2012. His latest plays Fragmente and Die Soet Trane van Petrus Pansegrouw are also scheduled for production in 2012. As film director he just completed filming his first film as director based on his award-winning play Agterplaas. The film will premiere at the 2014 KykNET Silwerskerm Festival in Cape Town.

Awards[edit]

  • Amstel Playwright of the year – Big Boys 1988
  • Vita Best new play of the year – Big Boys 1989
  • Vita Best production of a new play – Big Boys 1989
  • Amstel Playwright of the year – Vrygrond 1993
  • SACPAC Best new play of the year – Don Gxubane onner die Boere 1994
  • Fleur du Cap Best new play award (Finalist) – Sodom 1998
  • Sanlam/RSG Radio Drama award – Praatmaar 2000
  • KKNK/Nagtegaal Best play award – Vrededorp 2005
  • Maskew Miller Longman drama award – The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife 2008
  • KKNK/Nagtegaal Best play award (Finalist) – Agterplaas 2009
  • ATKV Woordveertjie Drama award (Finalist) – Agterplaas 2010
  • Sanlam/RSG Radio Drama award (Finalist) – Offer 2013
  • BBC Radio Drama Commendation- Sacfrice 2013
  • Standardbank Ovation award – Ella's Horses 2014
  • South African Academy of Science and Arts Medal of Honour for Radio Drama – Offer 2014

Publications[edit]

  • Big Boys/More Market Theater Plays – Jonathan Ball Publishers 1993
  • Don Gxubane onner die Boere – New Contrast Publishers 1992
  • Vrygrond e.a. Dramas – Tafelberg Publishers 1994
  • Vonkfiksie – Human & Rousseau Publishers 1999
  • Vrededorp – Genugtig Publishers 2005
  • New South African Plays – Aurora Metro Publishers (UK) 2006
  • 'Kwintet' Ella se Perde – Maskew Miller Longman 2008
  • The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife – Maskew Miller Longman 2008
  • Droomskip e.a. Radio dramas – Nasou-Via Afrika 2009
  • Vrededorp – Protea Boekehuis 2011

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Charles J Fourie". Lit Net. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Fourie's Mouthpiece for the Curious". Mail & Guardian. 30 September 1994. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Charles J. Fourie's THE PARROT WOMAN Sees Revival at The Rosebank Theatre, Sept 18–29". Broadway World. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "New South African Plays". Amazon. Retrieved 26 March 2014.