Laying bare prison stories

2016-09-27 06:00
Bongani Dyalivana, Eric Menyo and Lazola Sikhutshwa in a scene from Ubuze Bam.  PHOTO: Sithembele Jnr

Bongani Dyalivana, Eric Menyo and Lazola Sikhutshwa in a scene from Ubuze Bam. PHOTO: Sithembele Jnr

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Theatre Arts Admin Collective is presenting the raw, visceral and deeply honest play Ubuze Bam as part of the Cape Town Fringe Festival.

The production tells the stories of four young men who are ex-offenders. The title Ubuze Bam literally means “my nakedness”, which is very apt considering Bongani Dyalivana, Eric Menyo, Lazola Sikhutshwa and Ntsika Tyalana take the audience on a journey that is emotional and vulnerable as they lay bare different prison experiences.

The project was originally developed in consultation with the Young in Prison (YIP) entrepreneurship programme. It was an intense five week creative and rehearsal process for the post-release programme participants and resulted in a performance that is being shared with the wider community and has become a production that has launched these young men into employment.

The director, Thando Doni, used a very organic approach as he worked with the young men. He asked questions like: “Who are you?” and “What does your name mean?” to elicit words that became sentences that became a poem. This would lead to movement and the creation of a scene.

These men may not have theatre skills but they have experiences. Through the telling of these painful but real stories audiences are allowed into the inner world of people who are often dismissed by society. Their humanity is reclaimed as these men are healing through the power of performance and theatre.V Ubuze Bam will be staged at City Hall at 16:30 on Friday (30 September), at 12:30 on (Saturday 1 October), at 14:30 on Sunday and at 18:30 on Monday. The production then moves to Guga S’thebe in Langa where it will be staged at 14:00 on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 October. Tickets cost R60 from or 0860 002 004.

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