Charles J. Fourie
Updated: Apr 6
Charles J. Fourie’s stories engage thought provoking socio-political themes in award-
winning productions of his plays like Big Boys, Vrygrond, Stander, Vrededorp, Kurtz, The
Parrot Woman, Goddess of Song, The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife, and more recently in
new plays like Agterplaas, Sacrifice, and Happy. - (Time Out, London)
Some of His Recent Creative Works Include:
Big Boys was staged by the LA Ensemble in Los Angeles in 1993 and the WarehouseTheatre in Londen during 2002 where it was a Time Out critic’s choice. His play TheLighthouse Keeper's Wife was presented at the John Caird 'New Director's festival at the Gatehouse theatre and also at the Old Vic's 'New Voices' in London during 2004. This play has since been adapted as a film for television and is a prescribed literary set-work for grade 10 English learners in South Africa since 2018. His play The Parrot Woman was staged at the Finborough Theatre in London and at theBurton Taylor Studio Theatre in Oxford during 2007. His play Ella's Horses premiered at the Aardklop festival in 2008 and together with his play Goddess of Song toured various arts festivals between 2009 and 2013. In 2015 a film based on the life of the main character, Florence Foster Jenkins, was released featuring actress Meryl Streep. His award-winning Afrikaans play Agterplaas opened in 2012 at the Karoo National Arts festival and continued with productions in 2013 - garnering several awards for best play, best actor, best supporting actor and best theatre production. A film of the play was released in 2014 at the KykNET Silwerskerm Festival and broadcast on Showmax. Fourie’s acclaimed socio-political play Sacrifice was staged in 2015 in both Afrikaans and English. In 2016 he staged the one-man play Happy at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, and the production toured to theatre’s in Cape Town and Pretoria. The play is currently being adapted into a film script and set to go into production in 2023. In 2017 Fourie translated The Man Jesus into Afrikaans and this production toured festivals country-wide. His play Wound was staged at the Cape Town South-Easter Arts festival and at the Grahamstown Arts Festival in 2018. Due to Covid restrictions Fourie has not staged any new work since 2020. In 2021 he was awarded a research and writing fellowship by the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Studies to develop a new theatre format involving artificial intelligence. This international collaborative project is titled; Artificial Intelligence Narrative.
In 1920 Czech writer Karel Čapek created the play R.U.R - translated in English as
Rossum’s Universal Robots. It was subsequently staged in 1921 - and also introduced
the word "robot" (roboti ) to the English language and to science fiction literature.
Discovering this play some years ago was the catalyst for my own project I am currently
developing, which includes a live performance algorithm based on one of my own plays.
The advent of the global Covid19 pandemic has not only seen an array of physical,
social, economic, and other challenges facing humans, but has had a negative impact
on the performing arts - mirrored most significantly in the realm of the theatrical arts.
This due not only to the physical curtailing of theatre performances, but also the closure
of rehearsals and theatre venues. Performing arts institutions are currently attempting to
survive their livelihood by adapting ‘live performance narratives’ into the online streaming
of pre-recorded performances. These performances however hardly match a live
theatrical engagement between the audience and the actor as story-teller.
Based on my own experimental work as a writer and director for the past 30 years and
synchronous with my project titled: Artificial Intelligence Performance Narratives –
I am working toward creating an algorithm for a new format of live performance narrative
where the audience and actor both as author/director/narrators engage each other on
stage - synchronous to developments in the world of Artificial General Intelligence.
During 2022 and concurrent with future developments in AI technology, I also plan to
further collaborate with artists and tech-specialists across the AGI diapason and in the
near future create a platform for performance narratives with conscious AI actors.
With this project I also hope to garner further international fellowships, grants and
residency opportunities in other countries during 2022 - and into the future.