Thought-provoking plays worth seeing

2011-04-19 00:00

ZULU speakers have the chance to watch a classic South African play this week when veteran theatre producer-director Maurice Podbrey and Durban theatre personality, Bheki Mkhwane, stage Lara Foot’s Thembalethu-Tshepang at the Playhouse Loft Theatre.

The play is the third work being staged to celebrate the launch of the pair’s Just in Time Productions, which is committed to the development and presentation of indigenous theatre in KwaZulu-Natal.

Last week I was fortunate to see Plague of Heroes, a stunning one-person show, starring Thami Mbongo.

This semi-autobiographical piece, written by Vusi Mazibuko and directed by Podbrey, tells the story of Mazibuko, who grew up in KwaMashu and, like many other youngsters, fell under the seductive spell of the gangster elite. But this intoxicating lifestyle was cut short when Mazibuko was paralysed in a shooting and discovered that being disabled in South Africa isn’t easy.

The play followed the equally good Sitting Round the Fire, written and directed by Mkhwane and featuring Sduduzo Kawula, Bhekani Shabalala, Bheki Khabela and Mkhwane himself.

It tells the story of four streetwise children whose lives are profoundly changed after a chance meeting with an elderly man.

Both Plague of Heroes and Sitting Around the Fire were staged in a mix of Zulu and English, but Thembalethu-Tshepang is 100% Zulu.

Translated by and starring Mkhwane and Silindile Ndlovu, the play tells the story of the child rape of baby Tshepang, a horrifying act which made headlines around the world.

Foot’s work has great power and provokes many questions including, when a community is brutalised by years of neglect and poverty, how does it protect its own children?

Thembalethu-Tshepang can be seen at 7.30 pm from today until Saturday. Booking is through Computicket or the Playhouse box office at 031 369 9540.

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