‘Into The Grey’ to premiere in The Playhouse Loft

Into The Grey: Menzi Mkhwane, Ralph Lawson, Rory Booth and Ashwin Singh. Pic: Val Adamson
Menzi Mkhwane, Ralph Lawson, Rory Booth and Ashwin Singh. Pic: Val Adamson

Into The Grey, the latest work by Durban-based playwright Ashwin Singh, will be staged for three nights at The Playhouse Loft between 13 and 15 September.

Presented by The Singh Siblings in association with The Playhouse Company, an Agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, the new work is a notable addition to Singh’s award-winning plays that have made an indelible impact on the South African cultural landscape over the past 15 years.

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Into The Grey: Menzi Mkhwane and Rory Booth. Pic: Val Adamson
Menzi Mkhwane and Rory Booth. Pic: Val Adamson

Combining humour and pathos, Singh’s numerous works delve into myriad issues in contemporary Durban. His production wing, The Singh Siblings, has partnered with KZN’s leading arts institution, The Playhouse Company, to stage several impactful productions at the Playhouse Drama and Loft Theatres since 2006.

Directed by Ralph Lawson and starring Rory Booth, Menzi Mkhwane and Singh himself, Into The Grey is a state of the nation play focusing on the decades-long association between two activists, Dr Logan Pillay and Advocate Sandile Ndlovu. It commences in the late eighties and traces these characters’ evolution until the present day. Both men struggle with professional challenges and personal demons as each tries to find his best self and fight for South Africa’s soul. Lawson has designed an innovative set and atmospheric lighting to explore the confrontations between various characters which occur in different institutions: a community centre; a university; a public hospital; and the Chatsworth streets. The play exposes the fact that South Africa is standing at the edge of a precipice but also offers hope that we can still work together to find a better understanding and engage in genuine nation building. It is a wonderful mix of action and ideas.

Into The Grey: Ashwin Singh and Menzi Mkhwane. Pic: Val Adamson
Ashwin Singh and Menzi Mkhwane. Pic: Val Adamson

The Singh Siblings have also staged full-scale productions as well as dramatic readings in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, India and the UK. Singh’s plays have been published in two anthologies (Durban Dialogues, Indian Voice and Durban Dialogues, Then and Now) by London-based Aurora Metro Books and these books are being studied at universities in South Africa, India, Canada and Europe.

The anthology in which Into the Grey features was launched in May at the prestigious Nehru Centre in London. The event was a huge success with the receptive audience thoroughly engaged with Singh and his team in an evening of serious theatre and literature. Dr Felicity Hand of the English Department at the Autonomous University of Barcelona will be teaching Into the Grey on their Master of Arts programme next year. Hand will be flying to Durban for the opening night of the production. This is another coup for Singh in a growing list of international accolades.

Singh expressed his sheer delight at the opportunity to work with Lawson, Mkhwane and Booth again. “You cannot find a more committed and talented group of artists. I am blessed to have someone of such rare and intense vision and skill as Ralph as my director. Menzi and Rory are award-winning actors with great dramatic flair and emotional depth,” said Singh.

Tickets for Into the Grey are R80 with concessions for students and pensioners. The show runs each evening at 19:30 from Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 and there is also a matinee on Saturday 15 at 15:00. Booking is now open via Computicket, telephonically on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com, or by calling the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540/ 369 9596 (office hours).

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