Power at play when past linked to future

2011-04-16 11:40

One of these days I’m going to stand right at the very top of the Brixton Tower and shout loud enough for the whole of Gauteng to hear my call to come and watch a play at The Market Theatre.

It always beats me, especially after watching a brilliant performance like the one dished up by the cast of Play Me, as to why there is hardly ever
the same scramble for theatre tickets as there is for soccer match tickets.

Okay, maybe this is an unfair comparison, particularly in a country that has 5 000 football fields for every theatrical

Then again this figure may be far-fetched.

Still, it’s sad that not even 1% of this country’s population will ever get to watch Fana Mokoena, Sello Sebotsane, Lerato Mvelase and Zandile Msutwana turn on the magic in Play Me.

It’s such a pity that most Mzansi citizens only get to see the talents of our actors on TV, and not in the theatre where a performer can touch your soul.
Anyway, for now, let’s do Play Me.

It is not true that the past does not belong to us and that ours is the future.

Truth is, the past remains very much a part of us, long after it has been overtaken by the present.

Take the case of Joe and Jack, for instance.

Back in the days of the struggle, they were comrades-in-arms in exile, fighting side by side in a war of liberation.

Back then, they lived by the adage a comrade takes a bullet for another comrade. When the war ended and the present overrode the past, their lives took different paths.

Joe, played by Mokoena, married the daughter of a wealthy businessman, in the process becoming a wealthy businessman himself.

Jack, played by Sebotsane, took a path more aligned with his military past.

He joined the new defence force, but after circumstances forced him to quit, he turned to his past, Joe, for help.

And thus begins a protracted litany of lies, deceit and betrayal that culminates in the deaths of Joe and his wife, Pretty, played by Msutwana.

Mvelase plays Julia, a qualified researcher who has been turned into a maid by her scheming cousin Pretty.

Well, I had to agree with a friend who remarked after the show that the plot “was a bit TV-ish”!

But then we both agreed that the performance itself was just out of this world.

The audience was often moved to tearful laughter by witty exchanges in the dialogue.

Even Mncedisi Shabangu and Hamilton Dlamini, acclaimed practitioners of the art of theatre themselves, couldn’t stop themselves from cracking up a few times during the play.

Just goes to show how theatre can touch you where television and movies cannot, no matter who you are.

» Play Me is running at The Market Theatre complex in Newtown, Johannesburg, until May 1.
011 832 1641 to book

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