THREE shows from the University of KwaZulu-Natal will be presented at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown this year.
They are: the highly successful and acclaimed productions of Woza Albert! and The Island which have been touring around KwaZulu-Natal and the Great Karoo, where The Island was seen and enjoyed by playwright, Athol Fugard, himself.
The Island is also being presented at the National Schools’ Festival later in July.
The other show from UKZN, Match Girl, has been selected to represent the Pietermaritzburg campus at the annual student drama festival at the National Arts Festival.
Match Girl is a modern South African adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson tale of The Little Match Girl.
The story is told through a fusion of performance art, mask work, shadow play, puppetry and physical theatre.
It highlights how we, as a society, have become inured to suffering and poverty, or simply don’t want to acknowledge it.
The production retains the innocence and sentiment of the original story through the use of highly visual theatrical imagery combining modern technology with artistic simplicity.
It is directed by masters student Jessica Killerby, who was responsible for the beautiful environmental piece Her Cradle, which wowed audiences at the Hexagon and Hilton Arts Festival last year.
The cast includes Nompilo Jili, Monique Schoeman, Bongeka Ngubane, Musa Shozi and Sabelo Cele.
Woza Albert! is one of the plays for which South African theatre is best known internationally.
Its style of storytelling has inspired and influenced theatre companies around the world, and it remains one of the most vibrant examples of satirical anti-apartheid South African theatre.
The play asks what would happen if Christ (Morena) came back to 1980s apartheid South Africa. It is primarily a satire that highlights the absurdities of apartheid and displays the talents of two dextrous actors, in this case TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande, who play a range of ordinary characters on the street.
Directed by Peter Mitchell, the production is a high energy explosion of creativity and humour with a dark edge as Morena’s life is relived in an apartheid context.
Pietermaritzburg audiences will be able to see previews of Match Girl and Woza Albert! at the Hexagon Theatre at 6 pm on June 25 and at 6 pm and 7.15 pm on June 26.
A musical duo called Acoustic Assassins, which is also Grahamstown bound, will entertain in The Dive on June 26 at 8.30 pm.
Tickets are R40 (R25 concession) for each show.
— Weekend Witness eXplore Reporter
Where to see these shows in Grahamstown:
• The Match Girl will be staged in the rehearsal room at 11.30 am on July 2 and 5 pm on July 3. Tickets are R45 (R35 concessions).
• Woza Albert! can be seen at the Masonic Back at 4 pm on July 7, 12 noon on July 8, 4 pm on July 9, 2 pm and 10 pm on July 11 and at 10 am on July 12. Tickets are R50 (concessions R45).
• The Island is at the Masonic Back at 4 pm on July 2, 12 noon and 8 pm on July 3, 10 pm on July 4, 2 pm on July 5 and 6 pm on July 6. Tickets are R50 (R45 concessions).
• Acoustiq Assassins are performing at The Vic at 12 noon on July 8, 1 pm on July 9 and 5 pm on July 10. Tickets R50.
TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande star in Woza Albert!
Nompilo Jili in Match Girl.
TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande star in The Island.