On stage: Love! Valour! Compassion! –multi award winning play by Terrence McNally, on tour in South Africa -2021-2022

What: Love! Valour! Compassion! the Tony Award winning play by Terrence McNally
Where: Artscape Opera House
When: February 1-12, 2022 – Tuesdays to Saturdays at 6.30pm and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Duration: 2hrs 20 min
Tickets: R198R220
Booking link:  https://tickets.computicket.com/event/love_valour_compassion_/4273621
Group bookings: Call 011 815 3000 or e-mail to admin@lefra.com
Age advisory: No under 16s
Producer: Frans Swart of Lefra Productions https://www.lovevalour.co.za/  

Scroll down for productions credits    

After many delays due to the COVID 19-pandemic, playwright Terrence McNally’s award-winning Love! Valour! Compassion! opened at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg during November, last year [2021], produced by Lefra Productions. Now Cape Town audiences will get the opportunity to see the play in the Artscape Opera House, with direction by Gregg Pettigrew and a cast of seven. Yes, a cast of seven. That is a mammoth undertaking, at the best of times and with reduced seating because of the pandemic, even more so to bring live theatre to the stage. The production was scheduled to be presented in 2020, to mark the 25th anniversary revival of the hit play but the pandemic paused the tour. The 2022 Joburg season was enthusiastically received but Omicron was on the boil. Now, numbers have stabilised and it is back to the theatre.  All Covid protocols will be in place at Artscape. Mask up and get there. As far as can be ascertained, it has been a long time since this Tony Award play was staged in South Africa. Lefra producer, Frans Swart says that as far as he is aware, it was last presented at the National Arts Festival, “about 25 years back, at Grahamstown [now Makhanda].  I think it was a PACT production.  Interestingly enough James van Helsdingen – a cast member in this production – was in that staging.” Van Helsdingen plays two roles in the play – twin brothers -John and James Jekyll- who are very different in terms of character. Info as supplied:

Love! Valour! Compassion! – Cape Town season – February 2022

Love! Valour! Compassion! is directed by Gregg Pettigrew and produced by Frans Swart andwill play in the Artscape Opera House, rom February 1 to 12, 2022, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 6.30pm, and matinees at 2.30pm on Saturdays.  To book, see www.computicket.com. The direct booking link for the Artscape season is https://tickets.computicket.com/event/love_valour_compassion_/4273621 or call 0861 915-8000. To arrange group bookings and corporate events, phone (011) 815-3000 or send an e-mail to admin@lefra.com. 

About Love! Valour! Compassion!

Eight men confront their lives, loves and friendships over the three successive holiday weekends, at a farmhouse in Duchess County, New York.  Winner of the 1995 Tony Award for Best Play, Love! Valour! Compassion! explores the lives, loves, and fears of eight gay men in the 1990s.  Over the course of the summer, the men’s conversations touch on themes of infidelity, flirting, AIDS, skinny-dipping, and questions about life and death.  It’s a comedy about some comparatively privileged gay people in a world whose problems are ultimately shared by everyone.

“For me personally, I have always said that Love! Valour! Compassion! may use eight gay men as its vehicle for the story, but it is a play that’s message truly transcends sexual orientation boundaries”, say Gregg Pettigrew, director of the production.  “It is a play that every human being will take a message from and relate to.  I am proud to be heading the production that will carry the blazing torch of hope for the South African entertainment industry to get back to work after going through our own doldrums for so many months”.

According to Producer Frans Swart, the themes in Love! Valour! Compassion! are universal.  “Difference and unity, creatively entwined, create a vivid portrait, not of gay identity, but of human interaction.  McNally breaks down stereotypes by presenting contrasting characters who depicts gay men as a group of very different individuals, whilst at the same time illustrating the strong bonds and community connections that develop as a result of outside subjugation.  These themes are now more relevant than ever.  It is a beautiful love story,” says Swart.  “Gregg has done a marvellous job in directing the production, and under his direction the play sweeps effortlessly along as the characters fall in and out of love, argue, swim, dine, sleep, flirt and talk, which they do especially well!”

“After the many delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, we decided that this year, come hell or high water or Covid, we need to do this play”, says Frans.  “Even when we had to postpone the Cape Town run to February next year, we decided to push through and to rehearse this production.  The theatre has an energy that nobody understands.  Suddenly, we had something to live for. Actors, technicians, theatre Staff, publicists, bar men, ushers.  I am very proud to say that this production is really a forerunner in getting theatre back on track.”

According to Swart, producing a theatre production in South Africa has really become challenging.  “In the last 18 months, we here at Lefra became the masters of improvisation.”  Lefra planned to open with Love! Valour! Compassion! at Artscape in Cape Town in September.  “As you know, when you do a production of this magnitude, you basically plan well in advance.”  In April 2021 Lefra reached an agreement with Artscape to play in the Opera.  At that stage, theatres could still play to a 50% capacity, and Lefra planned accordingly.  When restrictions became stricter and audience numbers was limited to only 50 people, it was decided to postpone.  “Can you imagine how the Opera at Artscape will look with 50 patrons in it?  And secondly, it is just not economically viable to play for 50 people.  Love! Valour! Compassion! is a large production with an even larger budget”, says Frans.

“We are nevertheless still positive” Frans adds.  “We are all theatre people and you will never get us down!  This play tugs at the heart strings as well as provides the audience with ample opportunity for a good laugh as well as a healthy dose of titillation.  By turns soul-searching and hilarious, the play sings with truth about all humans and their interpersonal relationships.”  The central theme of this play is friendship and it transcends sexual orientation ensuring that every member of the audience will leave with clear message, that, “Friendship is everything!”


In addition to winning the 1995 Tony Award for Best Play, Love! Valour! Compassion! won The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.


This South African season of Love! Valour! Compassion!, by Terrence McNallyhas been made possible with essential support of Ambassador Execudrive, Britz Couriers and Removals, Hollywood Costumes Lift, RSG, Rockets Man, Sounds Good, Van Loveren Wines and WS Pianos.

Love! Valour! Compassion! the multi award winning play by Terrence McNally

Produced and staged by Lefra Productions, South Africa. The tour began in Johannesburg in November 2021 and continues February 2022 in Cape Town at Artscape  

Creative credits:  

Director: Gregg Pettigrew
Producer: Frans Swart of Lefra Productions https://www.lovevalour.co.za/

Music consultant: Bryan Schimmel

Choreographer: Danse Des Cygnes – staged by Mark Hawkins – after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov  


Boris Petenko, Glenn Swart, James Mc Phail, James van Helsdingen, Matthew Barrett, Rowlen Von Gericke and Schoeman Smit  

On the internet- South African season: https://www.lovevalour.co.za/

Facebook Lefra Productions: https://www.facebook.com/lefrasocial/
Lefra on Instagram: https://instagram.com/lefra_produksies?utm_medium=copy_link  


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Choreographing life: Glenn Swart plays Gregory Mitchell in Lefra Productions’ staging of Love! Valour! Compassion!, the play by Terrence McNally for the South African tour 2021-2022. Supplied.
Twin brothers: James van Helsdingen as John Jekyll in Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terrence McNally, produced and staged by Lefra Productions, South Africa. Helsdingen also plays James Jekyll. John and James are twin brothers but they are very different characters. Supplied.
Dancing in Love and valour and compassion: Getting ready for Swan Lake- staged by Lefra Productions, South Africa.

Friendship is everything: The South African tour of Lefra Productions’, staging of Love! Valour! Compassion! the multi award winning play by Terrence McNally. Lefra is a South African theatre production company. The SA tour kicked off in Johannesburg in November 2021 at the Market Theatre. Next stop is Cape Town at Artscape, February 2022. For info, e-mail admin@lefra.com or see https://www.lovevalour.co.za/  

Brave and resilient. Producer Frans Swart of Lefra Productions https://www.lovevalour.co.za/ The company is staging Love! Valour! Compassion! –the multi award winning play by Terrence McNally – in South Africa 2021-22, during the pandemic. The company is working with a cast of seven and a creative team which includes Gregg Pettigrew (director) and Bryan Schimmel (musical supervisor). Supplied.

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