Master Harold and the Boys

Check out Bunbury Theatre’s current production of “Master Harold and the Boys” and you’ll see UofL’s own setting the stage.

Theatre Arts teamed up with Bunbury to produce the show as part of the department’s ongoing commitment to community outreach and connecting with other local and regional theatres.

“Master Harold and the Boys” runs through June 24 at the Henry Clay Theatre, 604 S. Third St. 

Baron Kelly, UofL professor and head of graduate acting program, is directing, while Kevin Gawley, department chair, designed the lighting and set. The three-person cast features two recent graduates from the program, Tyler Madden and Cameron Murphy.

Kevin D. Gawley
Kevin D. Gawley

Kelly said the collaboration came about when he and Bunbury Producing Artistic Director Juergen K. Tossmann met and decided to work together. Kelly thought the play “Master Harold and the Boys” would work well for the Bunbury audience.

“This show has resonance with issues in the country today with the current political climate,” he said.

The play, by Athol Fugard, is set in a small South African tea shop in 1950. In it, two black men and a white boy joke and dance together, defying the brutalities of apartheid through their joyous love. But issues of family, race and power fester just below the surface. A phone call triggers a catastrophic moment between them.

“Master Harold” ultimately explores the profound personal consequences of oppression.

“The sad echoes of the play are telegraphed in our own time and place,” Kelly said.  

Kelly said the actors have risen to the challenge, a sentiment reflected in a recent review.  

“Bunbury Theatre’s current offering, ‘Master Harold and the Boys,’ is a worthy production of a difficult and important play,” wrote Insider Louisville. “This is an excellent production of a masterful script. I truly hope we continue to see Kelly, Gawley and the other professors and students at UofL continue to reach out into the community and help usher quality work onto our stages.” 

To hear more from Kelly, Madden and Murphy about the show, tune into UofL Today with Mark Hebert at 6 p.m. June 18 on 93.9TheVille. Or, find it here on Soundcloud.

Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.