By Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona
Directed by Peter DeLaurier
May 17 - June 10, 2012
The Island is Robben Island, South Africa's notorious prison, where John and Winston are political prisoners and cellmates. After absurdly grueling days laboring under the sun, they return to their dark cell to rehearse a makeshift performance of Sophocles' play Antigone. Winston takes the part of young Antigone, who defies the laws of the state for the sake of her conscience. John takes the part of Creon, the king, who is so desperate to hold onto power that he will crush any dissent. Rehearsals in the cramped cell will test their friendship and strain their resilience in this gripping, vivid portrait of apartheid-era struggle. This modern classic by Tony Award-winners Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona celebrates hope, passion, and the strength of friendship.
Cast & Production Team
Kes Khemnu (U.R.) as Winston Frank X as John
Meghan Jones, Production Manager Nick Embree, Scenic Designer Natalia de la Torre, Costume Designer Janet Embree, Lighting Designer Daniel Perelstein, Sound Designer Rebecca Smith, Stage Manager Sarah Mitteldorf, Assistant Director
News & Reviews
"The Island makes other theatrical productions seem like fluffy, farcical entertainment. This play will move, unseat, and transform you. Director Peter DeLaurier said it best: 'This play is a hymn to the power of theater.'" –Phawker.com
"The [Lantern], which usually does well by the South African playwright, outdoes itself in The Island. Frank X in the role of John and U.R. as the reluctant Winston exceed their customary virtuosity. It takes a while to figure out what Sophocles is doing in this South African prison, but we get there – and when you do, it's wonderful. The Island honors these men whose principles have put them behind bars, and whose lives could be our lives in a different time and place. The Island is tough and tragic and a very funny piece of theater. Peter DeLaurier's direction shows the power of his own fine actors' timing. Janet Embree's lighting heightens 90 powerful minutes of theater." –WRTI 90.1-FM
"Lantern's production of The Island is strong. The first half of The Island belongs to John as the interpreter and instigator of events. Frank X provides a passionate and nuanced character study, and then a terrifying, ingratiating, utterly political Creon. The second half belongs to Winston who narrates much of their backstory right up until they lost their freedom. After much reluctance, he plays a winsome and defiant Antigone. U.R. lets us see, at the very moment his character suddenly sees it, the damage done by years in prison." –The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Frank X and the lyrical U.R. make poignant partners, easily ranging from prickly dudgeon and heart-stopping empathy to humor. DeLaurier's direction lingers with a sure hand over many of the play's most emotionally and physically demanding moments, building to a final scene of triumphant power." –Broad Street Review
"The Island is one intense theatrical experience. The Island is a powerful story, and Frank X and U.R. are marvelous as they chart the subtle changes that these characters go through to make their stand." –Talkin' Broadway
"The piece is carried by outstanding performances by Frank X, who is in my reckoning probably the best actor on the Philadelphia stage, and his excellent costar U.R. As I heard one audience member say, the performances were like instruction in how to act: nuanced and powerful." –STAGE Magazine
Header Photo: Paul L. Nolan, Sally Mercer, and Charles McMahon in Copenhagen (2018); Charlie DelMarcelle, Anthony Lawton, Jered McLenigan, and Brian Anthony Wilson in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (2019); Anthony Lawton and Paul L. Nolan in The Craftsman (2017); and Bi Jean Ngo and Peter DeLaurier in The Tempest (2018). Photos by Mark Garvin.
Lantern Theater Company respectfully acknowledges that it is situated on Lenapehoking, the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Unami Lenape.