BY BILLY SUTER
DURBAN’S Playhouse Company introduces KZN Arts Showcase this month, a mini festival of 10 home-brewed stage productions and various workshops.
It will run over three consecutive weekends, from October 6 to 21, at the city centre arts complex – and the best part is that admission to all productions is free, although booking is essential for master classes and all productions.
Anyone interested in attending a show (full programme below) should phone Dawn Haddon at 031 369 9407 for bookings.
The event, to be held at the Playhouse Loft theatre, will include master classes on directing, writing and marketing/publicity, facilitated by experts in these respective industries. In addition each weekend will include a Sundowner Concert and poetry session with varied local acts, says a Playhouse Company spokesman.
Among productions is the award-winning and truly excellent Durban show, B!#ch Stole My Doek, written by Clinton Marius and beautifully performed by Shona Johnson. Catch it at 7.30pm on October 6 and 7.
Produced by Copy Dog, it is a raucous satire with a twist, a one-woman comedy centred on a war of words between two women over a missing item of laundry. Colourful language and irrational hysteria offer an insider’s view of life in Durban’s southern suburb, Wentworth, as the comical battle between neighbours heats up and boils over, with unexpected results. Do not miss it!
Created to celebrate authentic local drama and dance works, this arts showcase has been co-curated by The Playhouse Company with K-Cap, Umsindo Theatre Projects, The University of KZN Drama Department and an independent panel, that recommended productions based on pre-set criteria. This included nominations of the best productions from their respective programmes, festivals or competitions.
“For three weekends in October the Playhouse Company will host these productions which celebrate KZN artists at varying levels of expertise and development in their careers. We thank the co-curators and panellists for their hard work and recommendations which have resulted in the first KZN Arts Showcase,” says Playhouse Company chief executive officer and artistic director for The Playhouse, Linda Bukhosini.
The Loft Theatre at the Playhouse was originally created with the intention of providing a creative space for local talent to flex their artistic muscles on stage. The KZN Arts Showcase will feature productions identified for excellence at varying levels, including student productions and those that have been celebrated for their extended runs in festivals across South Africa.
This showcase presents an opportunity for local artists to network and enjoy each other’s work, and be a part of a festival celebrating all kinds of theatre.
HEREWITH THE FILL PROGRAMME FOR THE KZN ARTS SHOWCASE AT THE PLAYHOUSE LOFT
11am on October 6 and 2pm on October 7
This piece takes us through the journey of “Mr Mtheku”, a miner respected by the community at large for his great work, who is framed for rape one night when on holiday. On the 11th year of his jail sentence he gets a surprise visit from a young girl he doesn’t know. This is described as a powerful one-hander told through flashbacks, sound, song and energetic performances. Written by Sibonelo Mtheku assisted by K-Cap.
3.30pm on October 6 and 3pm on October 7
Trafficked combines physical theatre, poetry and media projection to tell the story of a South African girl tricked into a dangerous human trafficking syndicate. This highly creative and gripping performance explores the ongoing reality of modern-day slavery happening on our doorstep. Produced by TruLife Productions.
5pm on October and 4.30pm on October 6
Liberty is a dance work inspired by the rise and fall of the economy and society’s judgmental nature on money, fame and the illusion of a reputable reputation. It tells South African stories of lost souls in an idealistic world; people who have fallen by the wayside, battered by life’s many struggles. Characters are left discouraged and hopeless with no glimpse of a better life. All people are faced with challenges yet many struggle to overcome them. Produced by Playhouse Dance Residency.
B!#ch Stole My Doek
7.30pm on October 6 and 7
A raucous satire with a twist, this award-winning Durban comedy pokes fun at a war of words between two women over a missing item of laundry. Colourful language and irrational hysteria offer an insider’s view of life in Durban’s southern suburb, Wentworth, as the comical battle between neighbours heats up and boils over, with unexpected results. Produced by Copy Dog.
Cell Block Double
4.45pm on October 120 and 4.30pm on October 21
This is a two-hander, new South African play about two women in a cell together. They take us through a journey of their lives and the circumstances that have lead them to prison. Most importantly, however, the audience experiences their love/hate relationship and how they become each other’s strength in the journey of rehabilitation. This is said to be a heartwarming look at the power of humanity and how two women, caught in violence and destruction, find redemption through friendship. Produced by The University of KZN’s Drama Department.
5.45pm on October 13 and 5pm on October 14
Kubili is a double bill of dance theatre duets choreographed by Musa Hlatshwayo and performed by Mhayise Productions. Dudlu… Dadlaza is a metaphorical journey of two black, young women who navigate their identity in a society where political ideologies impose standards and expectations around their identity. DODA is an exploration of issues around black male identity and modern day and traditional masculinity in a society faced with the struggle of negotiating its collective political socio-political identity. Produced by Mhayise Productions. No under-12s.
11am on October 20 and 2pm on October 21
This is the story of convicts serving time in Durban-Westville correctional services. They tell their stories on the life they were living before arrest. Some were killers, rapists and highjackers. They are about to be released and looking forward to make a difference in society. Produced by Ubuhle Bomlazi Entertainment.
3.30pm on October 20 and 3.15pm on October 21
This is a “show within a show”. Three childhood best friends are running a final dress rehearsal. The show is about three men – president, pastor and low-life citizen – who are trying to figure out where they are. Produced by Newcastle Arts Development Organisation.
4.30pm on October 13 and 2.30pm on October 14
An ensemble piece consisting of excerpts from plays that shed light on elements of human nature. Love, forgiveness, cultural difference, loss all feature. The piece showcases monologues, poetry, music and dance in a journey of discovery. Produced by The Playhouse Company’s Community Arts Mentorship Programme. No under-11s
Ulwembu is a poignant, informative and honest theatre production about drug addiction. In 2015, a dynamic team of storytellers, playwrights, theatre-makers, academics and researchers set about exploring the whoonga (low-grade heroin) crisis plaguing local communities. The result is a powerful theatre production (the title is Zulu for ‘spiderweb’) created by award-winning Durban playwright and director Neil Coppen, top local actress Mpume Mtombeni, KwaMashu-based community theatre group, The Big Brotherhood, and educational sociologist Dylan McGarry.