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The Road to Mecca is a play by South Africa's Athol Fugard.

It was inspired by the story of Helen Martins who lived in Nieu-Bethesdamarker, Eastern Cape, South Africa and created The Owl House, now a national monument.

The play was performed at the National Theatre in Londonmarker and then moved to the Spoleto Festival USA in 1987 starring Athol Fugard as the Rev. Marius Byleveld, Charlotte Cornwell as Elsa Barlow and Yvonne Bryceland as Miss Helen.

Plot

Misssss Helen is a widow who lives alone. Inspired by a vision she has decorated the walls of her home with broken glass which creates beautiful and calming effects while reflecting the candle light that she prefers. Outside in the garden she has created a world of cement sculptures of wise men, camels and owls all facing east towards Meccamarker.

This behaviour has alienated her from the conservative, Calvinist church whose local congregation views her with suspicion.

She befriends Elsa, a young teacher from Cape Townmarker.

One night, Helen burns herself. Fearing for her safety, Elsa comes to visit. At the same time, the local pastor, Marius Byleveld, comes to help Helen apply for the local Old Age home. He is secretly in love with her and fears for her "idolatry" and her exile from the church.

However, with Elsa’s help, she decides to stay in her home.

"The Mecca metaphor speaks to the relationship between imagination and freedom. Miss Helen's candles illuminate the deep connection between creativity and light".

1992 film adaptation

The 1992 film adaptation of The Road to Mecca, written by Peter Goldsmid, who also co-directed it with Fugard, starred Fugard as the Rev. Marius Byleveld, Kathy Bates as Elsa Barlow, and Yvonne Bryceland as Miss Helen.

Notes

References



External links

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