“Master Harold”…and the Boys, June 27-30

Posted Jun 18, 2019

The Otterbein Summer Theatre will present “Master Harold” …and the Boys at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 27; at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29; and at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 28, and Sunday, June 30. All performances are in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville.

Tickets are $25 each and can be reserved by calling the Otterbein University box office at (614) 823-1109 or purchased online at www.otterbein.edu/drama. The box office is open 12-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to performances. The box office is located in Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville. Student Rush discounts are available one hour prior to curtain, pending ticket availability.

Set in 1950s South Africa, this searing coming-of-age story is considered Fugard’s masterpiece. Halle, a white teen, has grown up in the affectionate company of Sam and Willie, two black waiters who work in his mother’s tearoom in Port Elizabeth. When he learns that his viciously racist, alcoholic father is on his way home from the hospital, he is overcome with rage which unwittingly triggers his inevitable passage into the culture of hatred fostered by apartheid.

Desmond Fernandez, a graduate of Westerville South High School and current junior acting major at Otterbein, will play Sam — a challenging role for a young actor because he never leaves the stage and has many lines of dialogue.

According to Director Melissa Lusher, the character is “extremely complex. He is the moral center of the story and the vessel through which Fugard most directly transmits the overall message of the play. He is the wisest, most grounded character… but also the one with the most expansive heart.”

This role has posed new challenges for Fernandez as he has had to learn a South African dialect and ballroom dancing. Fernandez considers one of the greatest challenges however to be the high level of vulnerability required of the character.

“I have had many characters where I have to be guarded and powerful all the time. With Sam, it’s about opening my heart. It’s freeing and relaxing. I feel as though I’m not playing a character. I’m just being me. That’s something that’s hard in today’s world. We must be so guarded and closed up,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Lusher knows that Fernandez is up to the task. “Not only is he a brilliant actor, he is an astonishing human being — one who cares deeply about the world and the people in it. Spend five minutes in his presence, and you’ll walk away a better person” she said.

Since his arrival at Otterbein, Fernandez has appeared in the Theatre & Dance productions of “Hay Fever” (Sandy Tyrell), “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (King Duncan/The Porter/Old Siward), and “The Diary of Anne Frank” (Mr. Kraler/Third Man).

Otterbein Summer Theatre Presents:
“Master Harold”…and the Boys
By Athol Fugard
June 27-30 (Two performances Friday, June 28 – 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.)
Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall
30 S. Grove St., Westerville

Directed by: Melissa Lusher
Scenic Design: Edie Wadkins
Costume Designer: Miranda Cotman
Lighting Design: Matt Hazard
Sound Design: Doc Davis 
Stage Manager: Mary Nonno

Halle – Chris Smith
Sam – Desmond Fernandez
Willie – Chase Pittman

All performances at the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove Street, Westerville.
Thursday, June 27        7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 28              2 p.m.
Friday, June 28              8 p.m.
Saturday, June 29         8 p.m.
Sunday, June 30            2 p.m.