In a country like South Africa where the political climate has changed drastically since 1994, identities have shifted a great deal. I recall a conversation where we sought to pinpoint what it means to be the average South African; the discussion yielded little fruit – the people of this beautiful land simply are not homogeneous enough to determine an average.
There are simply too many variables to consider and this is why Johnny Boskak is intriguing because it presents a South African we can all recognise if not identify with.
With only a tog bag and a chevron guard rail aiding as props, the solo theatre piece opens with Johnny (played by Craig Morris) hitchhiking to get away from Durban. We soon learn about the demon that chased him from his hometown in a sequence that simulates a dream involving a conversation with the Devil and Jesus. Johnny, is a troubled man given his history in the SANDF of the former government.
We are then taken on a whirlwind adventure that has all the makings of a thrilling road trip film. The story in itself is a dichotomous tale of disparity and conflicting identity in an ever-changing world along with an heart wrenching story of love. The story draws on a lot of familiar places that are easy to identify with, from the small towns and the distinct accents.
It is easy to see how the play won both a Golden Ovation and Naledi awards in its debut year, it hits all the right notes. Craig gives a captivating performance that quickly makes the rhyme scheme lines as written by Creig Coetzee more than tolerable. The collaborative direction between himself and Roslyn Wood-Morris adopts nuanced and understated telling that is equal parts comedic and tragic, both necessary elements for an enjoyable tale.
Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny runs at the Market Theatre from the 16th November until 4th December. Bookings can be made via webtickets on their website or purchased at the theatre.