Two South African Actors Reunite For Special Take On 'Miss Julie' At Yale Summer Cabaret

Kineta Kunutu:Marie Botha.jpg

Half-way around the world, two teenagers in a South African high school both loved performing in shows. Neither imagined that, years later, they both would be attending the Yale School of Drama as actors.

That’s exactly what happened for Marié Botha, who is entering her third year at the school, and Kineta Kunutu, who is entering her second year of the three-year program in acting.

The young women grew up knowing of the other, but were not classmates. (Botha, who is two years older, was a friend of Kunutu’s sister.)

Botha first moved to the United States to study theater at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Kunutu followed several years later to study with the American Musical Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. Botha was accepted first to the School of Drama and the following year Yale said yes to Kunutu.

Now they are performing in Mies Julie, a South African adaptation of the August Strindberg classic, at the Yale Summer Cabaret, which will run from July 14 to July 23 at the Yale Cabaret, 217 Park Street, New Haven. The play, adapted by South African Yaël Farber and directed by Rory Pelsue, is set in South Africa. Botha plays the title role and Kunudu plays Christine, now envisioned as the servant-nanny of Botha’s white, entitled character.

They recall seeing each other on stage in high school.

“I have such a vivid memory of Marié doing this monologue [from the play Picasso’s Women],” says Kunutu. “I thought, ‘She’s amazing. I want to be like her.’”