The Old Man and The Sea is a classic that many of us have read growing up – whether for school or in our personal capacity – and watching this age-old tale come to life in one of Cape Town’s most celebrated theatres can be likened to a dream.

The story follows the epic struggled between an old, seasoned fisherman and the greatest catch of his existence.

Santiago, the protagonist, is an old fisherman who has experienced a streak of bad luck – he has not caught a fish in 84 consecutive days. Previously renowned and revered by his fellow villagers for his advanced skill in fishing, Santiago has gone from being renowned for thinking like a fish, to struggling like one on dry land. He is so unlucky that the parents of his young apprentice, a local boy named Manolin, forbid him to continue sailing with Santiago, and tell him to rather fish with more successful fishermen.

The two have the tradition that each night, Manolin visits Santiago’s decrepit shack and brings him food. Santiago tells Manolin that on the next day, he will venture far out into the Gulf Stream, north of Cuba in the Straits of Florida to fish, confident that his unlucky streak is near its end.

This imaginative adaptation captures the themes of brotherhood, life, death and the daily struggle for existence so well, and adapts it to a contemporary audience.

Brought to The Fugard by Contagious Theatre – who also presented the widely celebrated The Snow Goose – the production makes use of masks, physical performace and very fitting sound design to bring this old story to life. The production is adapted by Nick Warren with Jenine Collocott and stars James Cairns, Taryn Bennett and Jaques De Silva. It features an original soundtrack by Sue Grealy and is designed and directed by Jenine Collocott.

Picture: Supplied/The Fugard

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.