Out of the Margins

15 SEPTEMBER 2023 - 06 OCTOBER 2023
Mies Julie 1. Cover 3. Headshot 2. Annotations
Mies Julie
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20. Yaël Farber

Mies Julie

Mies Julie 
Signed and annotated 
Fifth edition paperback, reprint with revisions 
21 x 12.9 cm 
London: Oberon, 2017

ESTIMATE


£1,000 - 10,000

This auction has now ended

Out of the Margins (20/55)

Notes


Since being the undisputed hit at its debut at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Mies Julie has taken the theatrical world by storm. Having amassed over 40 international five-star reviews and multiple theatre awards, The Guardian named it amongst top 5 productions in London 2012 and the New York Times’ Ben Brantley named it amongst top 10 of 2012 in New York. Mies Julie continues to tour prolifically. 

Mies Julie is Vita award-winning Yaël Farber’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie. To the subtitle - Restitutions of Body & Soul since the Bantu Land Act No. 27 of 1913 & the Immorality Act No. 5 of 1927 - the author draws a line and adds an annotation: “Strindberg’s Miss Julie is about class, sex + power. South Africa as a context is necessarily about land + legislated control of bodies. From the moment I read Strindberg’s stage instruction for John to kiss Julie’s foot - I saw a possibility for exploding open everything we fear + desire + charge in South Africa with a history larger than us all. I saw a story that demanded the stage. I called my friend + colleague Lara Foot in South Africa + said: ‘I’m coming home. I have an idea…’” 

This is a beautifully, generously, meticulously annotated edition of the play, with the playwright’s script in tiny capital letters filling most pages, alongside underlinings and connecting lines that add layers of context and texture to the understanding of the play. Some of Yaël Farber's notes crawl up and around the shape of the page, so that you have to turn the book to read them. There are notes on the plot (“Rape? Sexual tension coming to fruition?”), props (“the spinning birdcage, shaped like a small house - as they are - always looked like Dorothy’s house caught in the spiral of a tornado”), the staging (“How haunting breaks are”) and audience reactions (“Always raises a dark laugh of recognition in South Africa”). 

It's meticulous, it's fastidious, it's urgent in the truth it has to tell. This is a serious addition to a cultural exploration trying to go beyond traditional South African cliches of a "culture of violence", to tell a story of possibility. "And I think there is possibility in South Africa," said Yaël Farber in a Guardian interview.

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