Drama and dance at Playhouse

Detail from the poster for the 25th South African Women’s Arts Festival in Durban.

……BILLY SUTER……

TWO interesting South African theatre works – one starring Sandra Prinsloo and relating the true story of a Boer War concentration camp victim; the other a new local production of Athol Fugard’s acclaimed Nongogo – are among highlights of the 25th South African Women’s Arts Festival in Durban.

Presented annually by Durban’s Playhouse Company to coincide with August being Women’s Month, the festival opened this weekend and runs in various Playhouse venues until September 19.

Kamp-Hoer, an Afrikaans play based on a true story and a novel by Francois Smit, stars Prinsloo, under the direction of Lara Foot. Prinsloo portrays Susan Nell, who faced a traumatic ordeal during the Anglo-Boer War in the Winburg concentration camp, where she was brutally raped and left for dead. Nell qualified as a psychiatric nurse and 16 years later, during World War I, again crossed paths with one of her rapists.

Kamp-Hoer is scheduled for performances in the Playhouse Loft at 2pm and 7pm, from August 19 to 22. Ticket prices are listed at R100 each (R30 for an unspecified school performance).

Directed by Bheki Mkhwane, Nongogo will be at the Playhouse Drama from August 28 to September 4. The drama is set in a shebeen outside Johannesburg, in the 1950s. It focuses on the life of a shebeen queen who was once a prostitute. No cast has been announced. Tickets are listed at R100 each (R30 for unspecified school performances).

Also of note at this year’s festival is Seven Ways To Say Goodbye, a contemporary dance production by Durban’s Flatfoot company. It is said to explore the highs and lows of different human relationships during a global pandemic where self-isolation and social distancing are the new norms. 

Seven Ways To Say Goodbye will be presented from September 15 to 19. Tickets cost R70 (R30 for unspecified school performances).

Another dance production on the festival programme, in the Playhouse Opera, is The Awakening – Rebirth, running from September to 19. It is choreographed by Sunnyboy Mandla Motau, associate artistic director for Moving into Dance. This contemporary dance piece features the Phakama Dance Theatre and MID. Tickets cost R70 (R30 for unspecified school performances).

All tickets can be bought at The Playhouse Company’s box-office – phone (031) 3699 596/40 – or online via Web Tickets. Discounted parking is available at The Royal Hotel parkade.

NOTE: Other events, covering music, art, fashion, more drama, conversations and free shows, are also on the festival bill. For further information phone (031) 3699596/ 9540.


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