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The Playhouse Company’s 2018 New Stages season features a heady mix of arts genres, running in the Playhouse complex between 16 and 27 May.
“The annual New Stages Festivals presented by the Playhouse Company have long offered front-line entertainment for our various audiences, as well as providing exciting performance opportunities for the wide range of artists who get appear on our stages,” said Ms Linda Bukhosini, the Company’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. “In curating the festival roster each year, we are mindful of the brief we hold as an Agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, to uphold our obligation with regard to contributing towards a healthy nation building ethic, and to follow principles that encourage social cohesion through the shows we present to our public.”
Touch My Blood
A mainstage production on this year’s Playhouse Company New Stages roster is Touch My Blood. Part of The Playhouse Company Actors’ Studio incubation programme and directed by Matjamela Motloung, this plays in The Grand Foyer from 16 to 20 May. The work focuses on a tale of a young man growing up in Hammersdale Township, just outside Durban. Through him we are taken back to the vibrant eighties – when every young man worth his salt had the Afro, the bell bottom trousers and platform shoes that went alongside a time of fear and madness, and the division (both political and radical) that shook that part of Durban. Touch My Blood allows you to heal; it rewinds the tape, allowing you to witness some of what happened in South Africa. You are not only left with anger but shake your head and laugh.
It is said that when you are born in Africa, Africa is born in you. A continent of great promises, it is the place where we can be ourselves and the place where we can remake ourselves in the image of our dreams, Africa. It is a land full of rich culture, traditions, beliefs and hopes. Africa is our home. This is the premise that underpins Ukuzinza, an in-house Playhouse Company production created as part of the Playhouse Dance Residency programme. Choreographed by Mzo Gasa, it runs in the Playhouse Drama Theatre from 23 to 27 May.
Playing in The Loft from 24 to 27 May is the two-hander Whistle Stop. Under the meticulous direction of Frances Slabolepszy, it features the award-winning duo and real-life couple Ameera Patel and Jaques de Silva who unpack the dynamics of a single meeting between a man and a woman on a park bench. Conceived as a tribute to the work of the legendary British playwright and actor Steven Berkoff, the piece sensitively and charmingly explores modern urban relationships. Through a combination of cutting, rapid-fire dialogue and intense physical embodiment, the text explodes off the stage and takes the audience on a comedic rollercoaster ride through past, present, and future possible relationship dilemmas.
Dialogue: Disrupting Patriarchy
A Dialogue session focusing on the theme Disrupting Patriarchy takes place in the Playhouse Drama theatre on 25 May at 12h00. To understand and challenge the ways in which patriarchy (male dominance) privileges males and disadvantages females, this session aims to stimulate a debate examining how men and woman in relationships and work places, as well as boys and girls in schools and higher education, engage with each other in these spaces, but are polarized in so many ways. Chaired by UKZN Gender Education Specialist, Dr Bronwynne Anderson, the panel will include: Ubuntu Community Chest Social Worker, Ms Zama Mabaso; UKZN Masters Student, Nkonzo Mkhize, a Research Assistant at the Centre for Visual Methodologies for Social Change; Ms Wendy Augustine, a Trauma Councilor at the Victim Friendly Centre; Ms Pinkie Mtshali, Music Director at Emanuel Cathedral; and Mduduzi Majola of the South African Police Force.
New Stages Fringe
The Playhouse Company’s 2018 New Stages Fringe comprises eight community theatre productions playing in The Loft. On 11 and 12 May at 12h00, the first of four double bills features Lost Bundle and The Last Chapter. A drama performed by Intuba Arts Development group, Lost Bundle revolves around the trials a young woman who lives with her disabled mother. iThubalabasha Theatre Company’s The Last Chapter is a coming-of-age story about an 18-year old youth facing his father’s spiritual legacy.
The second double bill, comprising shows titled My Journey and World, plays on 11 and 12 May at 15h00. Performed by the Siyathuthuka group, My Journey depicts a girl who grows up not knowing her identity but knowing her dreams. World, an Edgy Drama Mix Production, depicts challenges youth face growing up in a harsh environment.
The third double bill plays on the Fringe on 18 and 19 May at 12h00. This features The Secret Box and Umsuka. The Secret Box, an Unyezi theatre project, depicts two people trapped in the walls of hope, while aiming to confess what they have done in the past. Umsuka, a Siwela Sonke dance piece told through powerful movement, music and images, tackles the issue of old family secrets when the new generation starts questioning.
The final double bill to be seen on the Fringe on 18 and 19 May 1t 15h00 includes Ubambo Lwami and I Married My Father. Ubambo Lwami, a Phakama Dance Theatre production presents three characters struggling to stay open minded as they face what is foreign to them; I Married My Father, performed by Dannhauser Active Rural Women Ensemble, portrays a young woman whose chance of happiness is compromised by her mother’s involvement with a married man.
Africa aLive: Pop-up Fashion Installation
Curated by Creative Director Derrick Mhlongo, Africa aLive: Pop-up Fashion Installation will showcase a high-end couture extravaganza of “A” List South African Designers. This runs on Saturday. 26 May from 17h00 to 17h45 in the Grand Foyer. By way of a sneak preview to the event, Pop Up stalls with Mannequins will be set up in the Main Foyer on Friday 25 May from 16h00.
New Stages 2018 also features a series of arts and crafts exhibitions in the Main Foyer, with openings on 11 and 12 May, 18, 19 and 20 May, and 24 and 25 May.
Complementing the festival line-up are a Test Drive session on 25 May at 10h00 where upcoming local bands get to show their paces: a Sundowners concerts on 25 May at 17h00 for established bands, and another Sundowner’s concert on 26 May at 17h00 for established bands and poets.
For further particulars, booking details and performance times with regard to all New Stages shows, log onto www.playhousecompany.com or call 031 369 9540 (office hours).