In a contemporary reworking of Strindberg's classic Miss Julie, internationally acclaimed adaptor/director Yael Farber has ingeniously transposed this 1888 parable of class and gender to a remote, bleak farm in modern day South Africa's Cape Karoo. Both play and setting brilliantly illuminate each other, creating a newly menacing, torridly passionate, urgently relevant allegory for a post-apartheid state in profound transition.
Against the pulsating, poignant backdrop of the annual Freedom Day celebrations, Xhosa farm labourer John and Mies Julie, the daughter of his white Afrikaans master, embark on a ruinous night, fuelled by drink, heat, generation-deep resentments and earthy, brutal, primal passion. Christine, meanwhile - cleverly recast as his mother and Julie's childhood nurse - continues to scrub the floor as three generations of her family have: a manifest emblem of the old regime, her very fingerprints worn away by servitude.
In the sweltering heat of her kitchen, pots bubble threateningly, a fan spins ineffectually, sexual tension builds dangerously and into the whole volatile brew are thrown all the explosive, unresolved legacies of the apartheid era: race, power, land restitution and ancestral rights, all distilled into one shocking, bestial display of sado-masochistic desire.