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Mary and the Conqueror

Johannesburg Premier for Mary and the Conqueror

Mary and the Conqueror
Imagining the life of Mary Renault

30 April to 9 May 2012
19:30 [Daily excluding Sunday]
15:00 [Matinee on Saturday]
Con Cowan Theatre :: Bunting Road Campus

An unforgettable story of history, power, and the glory of love:

UJ Arts & Culture’s second Johannesburg premier in the Con Cowan is “Mary and the Conqueror” by acclaimed playwright Juliet Jenkin, presented in association with Artscape 

Three hundred years before the birth of Christ, Alexander the Great cut a swathe through the empires of the ancient world.  Between the 1960s and the 1980s, novelist Mary Renault breathed life into this distant icon, and through the power of her words, the classical hero rose up fighting into the glare of the 20th century. Juliet Jenkin’s new play imagines an encounter between a great writer and a great warrior

Set against the backdrop of the life of Mary Renault, historical novelist of Ancient Greece, who lived and wrote in the seaside suburb of Camps Bay in Cape Town, the play imagines an encounter between Renault and her hero, Alexander the Great in which we meet Renault’s lifelong companion and lover, Julie Mullard, and one of Alexander’s lovers, Hephaistion.

Renault’s novels during the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s became iconic works especially for gay people, dealing, as they did, with love and war, homosexuality and heroism during key periods in the history of Ancient Greece.

Jenkin’s play explores the secret `landscape’ of this intriguing novelist in a celebratory entanglement of the lives and loves of Mary and Alexander.

Mary Renault is seated alongside a deserted beach somewhere in history, when Alexander the Great washes up in front of her. In the ensuing meeting between the writer and her most famous subject, we travel through history and swim across time to see where these two people came from and how they’ve ended up here. The play is a delightful story of two very different lives and their unlikely intersection.

“Mary and the Conqueror” is a project of the Artscape New Writing Programme and opens in the Con Cowan Theatre on UJ’s Bunting Road Campuson 30 April 2012 for limited engagement before it goes on to the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. The production is directed by Roy Sargeant. The role of Mary is played by award-winning, multi-talented actress, Diane Wilson, with another acclaimed South African actress, Adrienne Pearce portraying the role of Julie Mullard. Alexander the Great is played by Armand Aucamp with Francis Chouler in the role of Hephaistion. Designs are by Alfred Rietmann with original music composed by Michael Tuffin. Book at Computicket.