Composers and their stage works 

The Drummer

Athol Fugard


A very short one-man acting/improvisation piece with no dialogue. It was commissioned for the Kentucky Festival of New American Plays and performed by Dierk Toporzysek in 1980.

A tramp roots through rubbish finds a drumstick, then a second. He can make a rhythm with the sticks, and then with an upturned tin can he has all he needs to rise above the sounds of the city. He walks towards the city with his drumsticks ready.

A Beckett-like piece but missing Beckett’s ability to disorientate the audience and sharpen its perception. Instead, Fugard’s piece has the danger in performance of becoming sentimental. Fugard explains the piece was based on a tramp he saw in New York who was "very joyous… defiantly so!…and seemed to have a sense of himself as being extravagantly free".