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"Master Harold"...and the boys

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,574 ratings  ·  111 reviews
The role that won Zakes Mokae a Tony Award brought Danny Glover back to the New York stage for the Roundabout Theatre's revival of this searing coming of age story, considered by many to be Fugard's masterpiece. A white teen who has grown up in the affectionate company of the two black waiters who work in his mother's tea room in Port Elizabeth learns that his viciously ra ...more
Paperback, Penguin Plays, 64 pages
Published November 1984 by Penguin Books (first published 1982)
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Kirsten
The impact of this play on me was so much more than expected. I was assigned to read this for English class, so of course I assumed this play would be just another unimportant, mandatory reading assignment. It was so much more than that. This play, set in South Africa during 1950, shows the raw, ugly truth of racism. That it is not just a word which means discrimination against a particular race, it is a thing that breaks friends, families, and societies apart. Hally, a young white man who strug ...more
Kieran
Fugard manages to not only create a convincng domestic drama, but situates it incredibly well into the political milieu of the period in which he wrote.
His symbolism though understated is nevertheless powerful, and compelling events such as the kite flying scene are rightfully well known, not only for their metaphysical importance but also for the simplicity of the human drama that they convey.

The play is oblique at times, but all the more powerful as a result, as it focuses the audience or read
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Peter
”Master Harold” … and the boys is a short play, but there’s a lot of humanity crammed into it.

Set in a tea room in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, it shows us the relationship between three characters: Hallie, the seventeen year old white son of the tea room’s owners, and Sam and Willie, the two black employees who work there. All three are richly fleshed out; they are real in their faults and aspirations, and at different times we appreciate, sympathize with, and shake our heads at each of them.
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Laura Leaney
This is a powerful play about the damage of apartheid and the corrosive nature of shame. There is no "action" per se, all the dialogue takes place in one setting, the St. George's Park Tea Room, and is spoken by only three characters - two adult black men (Sam and Willie) who work at the tea room and the white seventeen-year-old son of the owner (Hally/Master Harold). It's 1950, and the relationship between the boy and the two men is impressively complicated. They, especially Sam, are the father ...more
Kathy
This was an interesting read, not something that I would normally have picked up on my own. I read it w/ my son, Dylan, who read it for school. It's the story of a boy, Harold, who while growing up has 2 very unlikely friends in 2 black waiters, who work for his parents. But in the world of apartheid in South Africa, life can get in the way of the best of relationships. This book gave me alot to think about, and I think I will be thinking about it for some time to come.
Samantha Sorour
This play was so much more then I expected having read it for varsity it is not something I would normally read. The ideology in the drama and the hope one feels from the characters particularly Sam is truly touching. To truly understand the play it is important to read articles on the play. A lot of the power from the play comes from the fact that the story not including the ambiguous end is based on Fugard's childhood. Hally is actually a representation of Fugard himself. It is once one is pri ...more
Emily Bauernfeind
Hally: "Penicillian and Sir Alexander Fleming!...The major breakthrough in medical science in the Twentieth Century. If it wasn't for him, we might have lost the Second World War."

Hally: "Philosophers have been trying to do that for centuries. What is Art? What is life? But basically I suppose it's...the giving of meaning to matter."
Sam: "Nothing to do with beautiful?"
Mary
Had to read this for a theater class I am taking (an elective) and immediately loved it. The story is easy to follow and really has a lot of important lessons. It's scary that it was based on a time only 63 years ago. That's not so long ago when an African could not sit with on a bench with the white boy that he has practically raised. A very good story.
Lee Ann
My main problem with plays is that, even though, yes, every bit of dialogue bears weight, a lot of the time it feels like reading/watching small-talk. I don't care much about who the characters think is a "Man of Magnitude," or that time they flew a kite, even if those conversations are extremely important to their characterization. I don't like plays where people just sit around and reminisce and talk. It's boring.

That being said, I did like the dynamic between Harold and Sam. It made for inter
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Carmen
I have heard that Athol Fugard is one of the best playwrights of the 21st century but I have not read or seen one of his plays until “Master Harold…and the Boys” was prescribed for my English class.

At first, I could not understand why someone would write a story where nothing actually happens, but after some thought I could see why Fugard has credit as a playwright. The kite metaphor used in the play is certainly an accomplished metaphor because the play would not be much without.

The main thing
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Leanne

This is one of the most perfect plays I've had the pleasure of reading. The play follows Hally, a 17 year old white boy with a crippled, alcoholic father, substituted in his childhood by the other characters in the play: two black servants named Sam and Willie. Hally is an extremely accurately written 17 year old with privilege: he's clever, but not so clever as he believes, and a bit of a know it all. However, he's had his share of troubles, and is a deeply hurt child. Sam is extremely intellig

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Krystina Ramos
“’Master Harold’... and the boys” by Athol Fugard takes place in the St. George’s Tea Room in 1950s apartheid-stricken South Africa. The play centers on the personal and political relationship between a seventeen-year-old white boy named Hally and the middle aged black waiters, Sam and Willie. The longtime relationship goes all the way back to Sam’s first geography lesson at the old Jubilee Boarding House. Before the play reaches a more serious tone, the three characters are friendly with one an ...more
James
"Master Harold" and the boys is a short play that has an immense impact upon first reading. The playwright Athol Fugard manages to imagine a relationship between a boy and two Black servants in early 1950s in South Africa and make it become a universal experience that continues to resonate with readers in the Twenty-first century. I was impressed with the economy of words that were used to express multiple levels of feeling and meaning throughout the play. The culture of England, long the coloni ...more
Emily Lewis
A tight, careful play -- not a word wasted. Funny at times, but mostly just poignant. There's a quietly unsettling pull of racism and classism and ignorance and intolerance throughout the play which explodes into a wrenching, angry finale. It's a story about the families we make for ourselves when we find our real ones lacking, but it asks the question of what happens when those found family members are not on equal footing.
Betty
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phillip
A fairly short but masterful drama set in Fugard's home country of South Africa in 1950. The plot is fairly straightforward with a cast of only three--Master Harold and the boys, as it were. While the play is not particularly action driven (it is set entirely in a single room and all three characters are on stage virtually the entire play) it tackles theoretical questions facing apartheid society and humanity in general. The characters are vivid and understandable, and the audience can really sy ...more
Patrick Mclean
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juan David
Master Harold and the boys is yet another beautiful play about Apartheid South Africa. It revolves around the story of a young white boy Hally and his black friends Sam and Willie. The story is beautiful because it depicts the racial boundaries between these two groups and how this young boy is taught to despise individuals which he deems friends at first just because of their race.

The style is magnificent, not only because of the philosophical questions explored, but also because of the lesson
...more
Stephany
I'm giving this book a 3 because it was so much better up on its feet, as a performed production. I first saw this play produced at Triad Stage and I was transfixed. A burgeoning theatre nerd, I had several reservations when I walked into the house after reading the warning sign posted next to the usher. "This production contains nudity. There is no intermission." What was I getting myself into? I don't think I'm going to enjoy this…

I was wrong. This hour-and-change production held my focus thro
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David Yoon
"Master Harold... and the boys" is a novel portraying the story of two black men and a white boy. The novel is about a boy growing up in a racist society where whites look down upon the blacks. As the story goes on placed in the boy's parents' store, Harold also known as Hally, the White South African boy, struggles to find his own identity. Oblivious and confused, Hally in the novel is influenced by both his fellows whites in his society and his black servant or friend, Sam. The author uses the ...more
Jess
I wrote a longer review but it got deleted, and I don't have the energy to rewrite it:

So basically, this is an important play because it talks about the prevalence of racism after the laws have been changed. Equality doesn't appear with the signing of a bill and racism still exists, as well as classism and the entitlement of the white patriarchy. More people should read this play and it should be in every high school classroom.

Only problem- I hated the character Hally and I hated reading about h
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Sarah
I loved how the play was written in such a way that the reader had to really pay attention to grasp the meaning. There is a total of three main characters, yet only with three voices Fugard was able to beautifully portray the issue of friendship, problems concerning respect and forgiveness, and love between those of different races in a time when segregation of black and white was approved of. I thought that the story went fairly slowly, with a few very emotionally filled moments when "Harry" wa ...more
Mariana Cazares
This play allowed me to experience the Apartheid in Africa. I liked how Athol Fugard played with the roles of teacher and student in the context of a society that does not usually stop to reflect on their reasons for acting. The play is also a beautiful exploration in the theme of friendship and how people have an impact in other people's lives. There is a strong social criticism on the play that is expressed through the irony and sarcasm the author uses in the play. In it, Athol Fugard question ...more
Sarah Baek
An enjoyable play, eloquently illustrating racial tensions in apartheid South Africa. Fugard does and excellent job capturing the idea of being on the edge of a long arduous process of mending injustices. I think the ending, in particular, captures well the metaphorical sigh before entering this process. I also find his use of dancing to represent how interactions between the various forces in the world is beautiful. Ballroom dance is something that balances measured actions with ebb and flow an ...more
Margie Jimenez
Read it at the request of my teen son who's reading it for his English class. Pretty powerful and emotional too. Got a knot in my throat at the end.
Andrea
This is one of the best plays that I have ever read. I have also had the opportunity to see it on Broadway and it was outstanding. It takes place in South Africa during apartheid and it exemplifies the complexities of race during the oppression of people of color. The relationship between the two boys and their black servant, Master Herald, is dynamic, emotionally charged and complicated. I particularly appreciate how critical the author is of the racist elements that invade this otherwise innoc ...more
Araceli Aguilar
"If we're not careful, somebody is going to get hurt."
"It won't be me."
"Don't be so sure."
Carin
"Master Harold and the boys" was a great story about the tension between race in pre Apartheid South Africa. Through just one situation we see much of the whole story of the relationship between a young white boy and the black employees. Through just one setting the reader laughs, cries, and feels the injustice of racism. Honestly, the first read through, before really looking at the play I did not understands some of the conversation, but after analyzing it I saw the depths and hidden meaning b ...more
Jenny
This is a play written by Athol Fugard and this play shows that in the time period that he lived in, people were separated, The whites and the blacks. In this play Sam and Will are the black guy that hangs out with Hally which is the white guy. Sam and Hally and really good friends but Sam and willy work for Hally family. This book shows apartheid when Hally told SAM to call him Master Harold when he thought that Sam was getting into his business at this moment even though Hally and Sam are good ...more
Elizabeth
This most likely has been my favorite piece of literature I've had to read for class since I've been in school. It's incredibly raw and real that hits a real nerve. It strikes a chord in how terrible the world can be sometimes and that society is helped in change by individual people.
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Goodreads Librari...: First publication date 3 24 Feb 28, 2013 06:00AM  
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Harold Athol Lannigan Fugard (b. June 11, 1932, Middelburg, South Africa), better known as Athol Fugard, is a South African playwright, actor, and director. His wife, Sheila Fugard, and their daughter, Lisa Fugard, are also writers.

Athol Fugard was born of an Irish Roman Catholic father and an Afrikaner mother. He considers himself an Afrikaner, but writes in English to reach a larger audience. Hi
...more
More about Athol Fugard...
Tsotsi My Children! My Africa! The Road to Mecca Sizwe Bansi is Dead & The Island Statements

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“Anybody who thinks there's nothing wrong with this world needs to have his head examined. Just when things are going all right, without fail someone or something will come along and spoil everything. Somebody should write that down as a fundamental law of the Universe. The principle of perpetual disappointment. If there is a God who created this world, he should scrap it and try again.” 21 likes
“Those are big collisions, Hally. They make for a lot of bruises. People get hurt in all that bumping, and we're sick and tired of it now. It's been going on for too long. Are we never going to get it right?...Learn to dance life like champions instead of always being just a bunch of beginners at it?” 5 likes
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