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Shakespeare Theatre Company, 450 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Kunene and the King Poster
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Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

Kunene and the King

3.5 star rating3.5 star rating3.5 star rating3.5 star rating

February 16 - March 16, 2025

Apartheid drama lit up by two veterans of the stage

The Telegraph

Why See Kunene and the King?

Plays

A Poignant Exploration Of Race & Division

Following a triumphant world premiere in Cape Town, South Africa, and an equally triumphant run in London's West End, this incredible play comes to D.C. as part of the Shakespeare Theatre Company's 2024/25 season. Celebrating a quarter century since the first democratic elections after apartheid, Kuene and the King shines a light on the writing and acting talents of activist and playwright John Kani, who stars as the carer to the actor Jack Morris as he takes on Shaksepeare's King Lear. Direction comes from Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

What is the story?

Set in present-day South Africa, two men from radically different backgrounds come together extraordinarily. We follow Jack Morris, a classical actor at a crossroads - just as he's been given the role of a lifetime, he's also received a severe cancer diagnosis. Enter Kani's Lunga Kunene, a black carer and at-home nurse. Their very different experiences of life pre and post Apartheid at first collide, but as old antagonisms fall away they are united by a passion for Shakespeare and similar relationships with their families. 

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Additional Information

Dates

Opening night: 16 February 2025

What we thought

Striking PLAYFUL touching

Janice Honeyman direction allows each of these acting greats enough space for their performances to shine rather than compete with each other

Set in Post Apartheid South Africa, the RSC's Kunene And The King toys with notions of identity, belonging and guilt, set against the backdrop of mortality and, well, Shakespeare.

Read full review
Wendy Fynn

Wendy Fynn

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