A new play by Myer Taub.

A disgruntled actress meets a playwright over lunch in a fancy restaurant to discuss a new work he has written based on the life of Florence Phillips, founder of the Johannesburg Art Gallery. While considering whether she will play the role, the actress imagines what it would mean to portray a dead white colonial figure today whose legacy and value is both contested and forgotten. Florence is about Johannesburg, about Whiteness, about imagined histories and about fences that keep us in and keep us out. The world-of-the-play moves across Johannesburg’s history revealing a city that captures a struggle for recognition, renewal, unrequited love, hope and prosperity.

The Market Theatre

Nominated for two Naledi Awards

“Playwright Myer Taub has penned a teasing, fragmented, poetic script, one that is by turns lyrical and playful, poignant and witty. Henriques, under the direction of Greg Homann, delivers a bravura performance…” – Business Live

“It is the eccentricity of the script, the execution and the performance that all come together in almost explosive manner and holds you (gently) by the throat throughout… a compelling theatrical experience… it’s truly theatre of our time – uniquely original.” – Diane de Beer

“There are moments of hilarity and of profundity, and the play as a whole is as poetic as it is dramatic. It is original, and superbly made in all respects (the lighting is superb, and there are clever, unexpected prop interactions). A triumph.” – Bruce Dennill

“This play differs from anything that has been on stage in South Africa recently. It opens vistas in unexpected ways and takes the audience to places they weren’t intending to go. It’s an exciting way to understand the world — especially the confrontational one nowadays.” – Business Day

“A DELIGHTFUL, METATHEATRICAL MASTERPIECE … give yourself the GIFT OF THEATRE MAGIC; intellectually, psychologically, emotionally, artistically…” – Renos Nicos Spanoudes

“It’s remarkable: a fascinating portrait of Lady Florence Phillips, a quirky history of JAG, a clever piece of meta-theatre, a love/hate letter to Johannesburg.” – Chris Thurman

“Greg Homann directs with his usual sure focus. Leila Henriques nails and captures every moment, past and present. Sculptor Richard Forbes creates a set crafted out of a forbidding angle-iron palisade, all without alienating the audience. Nomvula Molepo lights the production to perfection. Ntuthuko Mbuyazi provides a subtle and evocative soundscape. Myer Taub’s script is crisp and at times poetic. The audience was enthralled and instantly on their feet to applaud this tour de force … an unfaltering narrative bringing the story of a real woman, art, history and biography together in a lucid stage docudrama.” – Des Lindberg

“My row in the audience featured a few disparagers and a near-snoozer, counterbalanced by the standing ovation crowd, hailing it as a show about Joburg for Joburgers and applauding performer Leila Henriques as a tour de force…. Love it or hate it, it’s theatre that makes you think and discuss and debate and argue. How fabulous.” – Lesley Stones

“…the boldness of the play is something that gives theatre visitors renewed hope in the continued fire in the belly of this industry, that sees theatre-makers going where no one has yet been.” – Robyn Sassen

Produced by The Market Theatre
Written by Myer Taub
Directed by Greg Homann
Sound by Ntuthuko Mbuyazi
Lighting Design by Nomvula Molepo
Set by Richard Forbes
Costumes by Karabo Legoabe & Nthabiseng Malaka

Leila Henriques