Citizens’ lives richly staged

2015-07-14 06:01
Zanele Radu, Joanna Evans, Dobs Madotyeni, Roeline Daneel, Faniswa Yisa (back), Emily Child and Francis Chouler in Born in the RSA, which is on at the Baxter. 

Rodger Bosch

Zanele Radu, Joanna Evans, Dobs Madotyeni, Roeline Daneel, Faniswa Yisa (back), Emily Child and Francis Chouler in Born in the RSA, which is on at the Baxter. PHOTO: Rodger Bosch

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To mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of theatre legend Barney Simon, the Baxter Theatre Centre will revive his hit production Born in the RSA, 30 years after its world premiere.

This historic and important play comes to the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio until 8 August.

The docu-drama, which was devised by Barney and the original cast, is directed by Thoko Ntshinga, who performed the role of Thenjiwe in the original production. It showcased an ensemble of artists who have become theatre blue bloods in the South African stage, television and film industry.

RivetingThrough a process of improvisations the cast created what was described as a living newspaper, remaining true to the Barney Simon tradition of making theatre. By fusing and interconnecting monologues and stories, the riveting drama lays bare a slice of everyday South Africa and its people during the state of emergency at the height of apartheid. The interwoven testimonies of the seven characters, all ordinary citizens – from a teacher, a housewife and a lawyer to an activist and a police spy – are brought into focus as they uncover the dangers of the oppressive system of government at the time.

Impressive workBarney was born on 13 April 1932 and died on 30 June 1995, aged 63. His impressive canon of work includes Phiri, Hey Listen, People, People Too, Storytime, Cincinnati, Cold Stone Jug, Call Me Woman, Marico Moonshine and Manpower, Woza Albert!, Black Dog/ Inj’Emnyama, Outers, Klaaglied vir Kous, Inyanga – About Women in Africa, Eden and Other Places, Score me the Ages, Starbrites, Singing the Times, Silent Movie and The Suit.

An exhibition about his life and work by the UCT Drama Department will also be on display in the Baxter foyer for the duration of the season. V

Tickets cost R120 (previews and matinees), R130 (Tuesday to Thursday) and R150 on Fridays and Saturdays. The Baxter Monday special applies – patrons pay only R120 for a light meal in the restaurant and a performance on 20 and 27 July and 3 August at 19:00. Tickets are available at Computicket.

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