Heading to the Schlesinger Theatre at Michaelhouse in Balgowan at 7.30pm on Friday, March 10 is The Cenotaph of Dan Wa Moriri, a finely crafted monument to memory.
An intensely personal reconstruction of co-writer and actor, Tony Miyambo’s memories of his father, Daniel Rasenga Miyambo, the play explores an intimate father-son relationship, recalled and reconstructed through remembered moments from the past, fading images captured in sepia toned photographs, conjured up conversations , snippets of music, truths and half- truths.
It is an ancient human attempt to connect our present to the past by mapping our relationships with the one’s we love.
ESTELLE SINKINS spoke to him ahead of the performance, his first in the KZN Midlands.
Where did the idea for The Cenotaph of Dan Wa Moriri come from?
I had always been struggling with the subject matter of my father throughout my time studying dramatic arts at Wits. It the first time I engaged the idea in a piece was, however, through a short performance for a third year course called Transformation which Gerard [Bester, who co-wrote the work with Tony and William Harding] supervised.
Is this the first time you have worked with Gerard Bester and William Harding on a project?
Yes this is the first project we have worked on together professionally,
How did they help you when it came to creating this work?
Gerard and William were critical to developing the style of the piece and refining the text. Gerard was also part director, part writer and part psychologist in the way that he helped me unpack the subject matter.
How hard/challenging has it been for you to write and perform something so personal?
It was very hard, the challenge was how to work to open up the piece and not allow it to collapse into a pity party for myself. So the piece is about my dad, yes, but it is also about young love, adolescence, memory and grief.
Your dad never got to see you perform, what do you think he would have thought of this piece?
Well this piece would have never happened if he was still alive, I do believe, however, that he is with me every time I perform the piece. Every time I perform Cenotaph I engage in a conversation with him and the audience and I know he is proud of that. He was always proud of me.
What do you hope people will take away from this play?
I hope people will understand the importance of honouring people they love whether alive or dead.
What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I will be taking my other one man show Kafka’s Ape for a season at the Alex Bar in Cape Town at month end.
Tickets for The Cenotaph of Dan Wa Moriri at the Schlesinger Theatre at Michaelhouse are R100 (R80 concessions). Bookings: www.tickethut.co.za/michaelhouse, email Angela Jonsson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 033 234 1314 weekdays between 8 am and 1 pm.