Napoleon is back to show how #AbsolutePower corrupts absolutely in Animal Farm

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Animal Farm stars (from bottom left) Zuliswe Hadebe, Madisa Ndune, Mpume Mthombeni, Khutjo Green and MoMo Matsunyane.

WITH the nationwide #MustFall movements sparking debate around the nature of power and its abuses, there is arguably no better time to revisit George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which will be touring Gauteng as a stage production.

Standard Bank Young Artist Neil Coppen has skillfully woven the text from the classic novella into a hard-hitting play that resonates strongly with the South African socio-political situation. It is produced by ShakeXperience, a theatre company specialising in arts education.

Although it was written seven decades ago as an ironic commentary on Stalinism and post-revolutionary dictatorships, Animal Farm’s central theme – how power can corrupt, and how the formerly oppressed can become the oppressors – remains extremely topical on a local, regional and global scale.

Animal Farm is a national school setwork and more than 15 000 pupils in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have already seen this play, with its gifted all-female cast. It has picked up two Naledi Theatre Awards along the way, for best production for young audiences and best ensemble.

Now, Napoleon, Snowball, Squealer and company are back to bring another round of disturbing political satire to our stages – a must-see modern parable for school-goers, enhanced by humour, movement, music and visuals.

There will be 9 am and 12 noon weekday performances from April 11 to 15 at the Joburg Theatre, from April 18 to 22 at the State Theatre, Pretoria and from September 19 to October 2 at the Market Theatre. 

Says Lali Dangazele of ShakeXperience: “With a recent increase in the number of campaigns with #MustFall as the suffix, there is a clear indication that Animal Farm is not only relevant to young people as a prescribed setwork, but is a necessary starting point in the development and nurturing of much-needed dialogue relating to themes such as leadership, democracy, diversity and power, ultimately #MustRise movements.”

Animal Farm is adapted, directed and designed by Coppen, with choreography by Daniel Buckland. It features Mpume Mthombeni, Tshego Khutsoane, MoMo Matsunyane, Mandisa Nduana, Khutjo Bakunzi-Green and Zesuliwe Hadebe.

Tickets cost R70. For school block bookings or more information, contact Lalu Mokuku or Tiffani Cornwall at lalu@shakexperience.com/tiffani@shakexperience.com or at 011 057 5088/9 or 074 996 7387.

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