Strange Lands unfolds memories of Tsafendas


Strange Lands unfolds memories of TsafendasIn 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas assassinated Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, the founder and architect of Apartheid. Whether this was an act motivated by madness, or whether it was an action inspired by a political consciousness has been the subject of debate for decades. Was Tsafendas a confused loner, or was he a courageous freedom fighter? Strange Land is a thoroughly researched production that presents the possibility that the deeply troubled Tsafendas may have been a sane man living in a strange land.

Strange Land, formerly called Tsafendas, is an important work which seeks to restore South Africa’s repressed memory while reflecting on contemporary concerns around issues of racial identification. It builds on the iconic docudrama Living in Strange Lands (2001), which has been revised and extended to reflect new information which has since come to light regarding Dimitri Tsafendas.

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Incorporating archival texts from the life and trial of Tsafendas, this docudrama uses verbatim theatre and a shifting backdrop projected images and texts from his life to portray Tsafendas struggling to find a place for himself in a world which has excluded him. The play is a moving journey through the life of an outsider who is ostracised, frequently alone; a man driven to commit a desperate act for which he was to suffer for the rest of his life.

The text draws on extensive first-hand archival research, as well as works such as Liza Key’s television documentary, A Question of Madness, Penny Siopis installation “Obscure White Messenger”, Henk van Woerden’s A Mouthful of Glass, and The Man Who Killed Apartheid: The Life of Dimitri Tsafendas by Harris Dousemetzis.

Anton Kreuger’s text of the original play was published as Living in Strange Lands: The Testimony of Dimitri Tsafendas in 2003 by Playscripts, New York. It has been performed in several venues across South Africa, as well as in Buenos Aries and Caracas. The text was also adapted as a Radio Drama and broadcast on SAFM in 2019. Later this year, a Portuguese version will premiere in Brazil.

Strange Land, written by prolific South African playwright Anton Krueger, will star award-winning actor Renos Spanoudes in a heart-wrenching performance. The production is directed by the Standard Bank Young Artist (2016), Jade Bowers, as a reworked and reimagined historical production.

Performer: Renos Nicos Spanoudes

Duration 1hour 20 minutes
Age Recommendation 13 years

Season: 24 May – 16 June 2019

Venue: The Barney Simon

Performance times: Tuesday – Saturday at 20:15 and Sunday at 15:15

Ticket prices: Tuesday – Sunday R90.00 – R150.00
Student Prices: R70.00

To make block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641ext 203 or 083 246 4950.

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