World premiere of ‘Lenny’

2016-07-21 06:00

A POWERFUL new play commemorating the life of former political activist Lenny Naidu is to be staged in the Playhouse Drama Theatre in Durban this month.

Written and narrated by Jayshree Parasuramen and starring Rahul Brijnath, Lenny tells a story about a man who gave his life to the struggle for freedom of the people of South Africa.

Directed by Themi Venturas, the production’s world premiere season takes place in the Playhouse Drama Theatre in Durban from 21 to 31 July­.

“There is nothing more exciting than being part of a team that are primary creators,” says Venturas. “Being the first director ever to stage this new play is a thrill. It is also, as always, quite daunting, especially when it is about a person for whom many still have a living memory.”

“How do you give the drama its necessary impetus without messing with the actual facts in history? Where does the poetic license begin and end? It is very tricky. Suffice to say that the historical facts, people, and incidents are all correct. The playwright has some license to write what she believes was actually said behind closed doors between some of the characters, and whilst these scenes may be a little fictional the ethos is not.”

“While Lenny is a story based on the history and facts of the ANC stalwart Lenny Naidu, who was killed during the latter years of apartheid by the Third Force at Vlakplaas, the story is also universal. It is about families who are torn apart by history unfolding, and those that are left behind. It is about chance, but most of all it is about one human’s propensity for brutality on another - the sort of brutality that was inflicted by the apartheid era, or the holocaust, or the Russian pogroms, or the killing fields of Cambodia.”

Says Parasuramen: “Lenny is a celebration of our freedom. It is a story to remind us of the journey of our unsung heroes, who despite many challenges were determined to bring about change, whose struggle should never be extinguished from our minds. It is a play that will further strengthen relations with people across the race barriers, bringing about unity. It is set to capture the hearts of all South Africans as Lenny fought for the oppressed despite their colour.”

“To promote the arts and keep the legacy of heroes alive takes courage, determination and hard work. I have worked on this project for more than two years, and plans are already in progress for a national tour.”

Rahul Brijnath appears in the title role as Lenny, with Parasuramen as the narrator. Further casting features Savy Ramsamy as Lenny’s mother Neela, and Yashik Singh plays the activist’s best friend, Richard. Others in the cast include Yateen Dayaram, Warrick Frank and Nqobile Mthembu.

Tickets for the public are R120.

Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or book online at www.
Alternatively call the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596 (office hours).

Tickets for the school performances are R30 per pupil. To secure school bookings, or for further information, call 072 926 0692,
083 610 9931 or 031 826 5585 (o/h).

- Supplied.

To promote the arts and keep the legacy of heroes alive takes courage, determination and hard work. I have worked on this project for more than two years, and plans are already in progress for a national tour

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