The production room at the Market Theatre is abuzz with excitement as the cast and crew of James Ngcobo’s 2006 hit play, The Suitcase, prepares for a 5-week tour to set alight the stages of North England. James Ngcobo is the Artistic Director of the Market Theatre.
Adapted from Es’kia Mphahlele’ s short story, his enthralling production is adapted from Es’kia Mphahlele short story set in the 1950’s in Sophiatown. The Suitcase tells the story of a young couple who, despite family disapproval of their marriage, leave for the city, intending to return wealthy and immune from social censure. The pressures of the city, unemployment and poverty strip away the husband`s self-esteem and he starts to lose his moral compass. He is so desperate to provide for his pregnant wife that he steals a suitcase left on a bus. This action leads to frightening consequences, dramatic turns and unexpected twists.
Ngcobo’s revival and re-imagination of his 2006 hit play will include original music to add an exciting new dimension to the much loved Es’kia Mphahlele short story. Ngcobo’s production is evocative, visual and moving. It encompasses African storytelling and lyrical music. He mines the enormous theatrical potential of this poignant and emotive story.
Ngcobo is no stranger to the international stage. He was recently amongst some of the world’s leading theatre directors who were invited to the United States of America to participate in a celebration of playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s work, A Raisin in the Sun. The weeklong event in Washington featured different interpretations of the play from South Africa, Sweden and the United States.
Ngcobo is a multi-award-winning director and actor and has a long history with brokering meaningful partnerships with international theatres. Last year Ngcobo brought the Market Theatre and Royal Court Theatre together and produced I See You which received the Best Production Award at this year’s Naledi Theatre Awards.
The 5-week tour of The Suitcase is funded by the National Lottery (UK) and Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring fund. Following the UK tour, The Suitcase will return to the Market Theatre. The Johannesburg season is funded by the Ford Foundation.