[PRODUCTION NEWS] Celebrating Athol Fugard’s 83rd birthday and commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Barney Simon are two classics of South African theatre – ‘The Island’ and ‘Woza Albert!’ The creatively reworked versions starring up-and-coming new talents Mpilo Nzimande and TQ Zondi are presented by the Hexagon Theatre Company.
By Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona.
‘But just remember this, brother, nobody laughs forever! There’ll come a time when they’ll stop laughing, and that will be the time when our Antigone hits them with her words.’
John and Winston are two prisoners on Robben Island, bound by ideology, proximity, shackles and a deep affection. As they rehearse for a performance of Sophocles’ Antigone at the prison concert, John learns that his release is imminent; Winston is a lifer. ‘The Island‘ balances hope and despair as it identifies with Antigone’s struggle of right and wrong, the law of the State versus the law of the heart. It exposes the depths of cruelty and inhumanity while affirming the dignity and courage of the human spirit.
‘…by turns funny, sobering, and thought-provoking’ – The Witness
‘Absolutely beautiful work.’ – Athol Fugard at the Fugard Literary Festival in May 2015
‘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. It demonstrates innovation and creativity during a seminal period of theatre in this country.
This classic of South African theatre asks what would happen if Christ (Morena) came back to 1980’s apartheid South Africa. The show 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.
Bringing ‘Woza Albert!‘ to the stage honours the creative genius of Barney Simon as we celebrate 21 years of democracy, reminding us of the tragic lunacy that was apartheid, as well as the continued search for compassionate, intelligent and humane leadership. This production looks back from a new perspective at what changed the face of Poor Theatre worldwide.
‘A thoroughly entertaining and masterfully performed celebration of theatre.’ – The Witness
‘Zondi and Nzimande were … wonderful clowns, masters of character change and slick all round. – The Witness
‘The actors (are) remarkably good, the production superbly inventive, the staging and lighting outstanding.’ –Ralph Lawson
This media release was issued by:
Hexagon Theatre UKZN
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Hexagon Theatre, UKZN