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2015 SA Season at the State Theatre

- By Wits University

Drama for Life’s annual South African Theatre Season finds its feet in Pretoria next month when an exciting partnership with the South African State comes to the stage.

Through this year’s theme of identity through memory, story, movement, gesture, this Drama for Life (DFL) affair comes with a healthy dose of ritual too. Through its selection of five explosive one-handers from distinctly diverse backgrounds it promises to bring to you a South African Theatre Season to remember.

The festival takes the format of two short two week seasons.

Season One: 3 June to 13 June 2015

Cantos of a life in exile, written and performed by Makhaola Ndebele and directed by Warren Nebe. 

Cantos of a life in exile is an auto-biographical journey of an exiled South African, through multiple fragmented assumed identities, in search of one holistic identity best characterised by the experience of finding home. “The performance explores the displacing effects of cultural, political, and social exile on a South African citizen exiled during Apartheid… It is a theatrical hybrid, drawing from a variety of theatre and performance influences, but more specifically rooted in indigenous Southern African performance genres, namely iiNgoma (healing rituals), iziBongo (praise poetry), and iintsomi (storytelling),” says Ndebele. 

Morwa: The Rising Son: Written and performed by Tefo Paya; music by Volley Nchabeleng; and directed by Warren Nebe.

In Morwa: The Rising Son we follow the story of Morwa, a young Motswana man on his journey of discovering of what it means to be a man. The play is based on Paya’s personal narrative and looks to evoke dialogue and a better understanding of the challenges faced by young men in Africa. 

The play poses many questions about masculinity, gender roles and identity. Who are you? What are you? What makes a man? How does one become a man? How do men relate to women? How does an individual relate to society? In this intense performance Paya delivers a combination of story-telling, physical theatre and ritual.

Cantos of a life in exile and Morwa: The Rising Son run as a double bill until 13 June 2015 at the Momentum Theatre at the State Theatre. 

Season Two: 17 June to 27 June 2015

Synapses, Broken Chant and The Funeral 

Recent Naledi Award winner, Khayelihle Dominique Gumede, directs a stellar creative team to bring you two exceptional physical theatre gems.

Synapses, performed by Razeen Wentworth, is a comedic parody that never stops being rehearsed and Broken Chant, performed by Sonia Radebe, is an exploration of the rites of passage of the African woman.

The pieces go together hand-in-glove, exploring identity though the moving body. Choreographed by dance stalwart Nhlanhla Mahlangu with videography by Tony Miyambo both Synapses and Broken Chant promise to be a highlight at the South African Theatre Season.

Last up is emerging writer and performer, Simo Majola’s The Funeral. Winner of the Drama for Life Open Call for this Season, The Funeral promises a weird and wonderful exploration of identity though the great unknown of death itself. “Told through poetry, movement and soliloquise, The Funeral isn’t a spooky production about the afterlife, but a lyrical reflection on the brief ephemerality we call life: one leaves the theatre touched on an acutely personal level by something profound,” says Steyn Du Toit from the Cape Times. A rework of the production lead by director Phala O. Phala will premiere at the South African Theatre Season.

Synapsis, Broken Chant and The Funeral run until 27 June 2015.

The season production manager is Benjamin Bell. For more information email info.dfl@wits.ac.za. For more details and bookings visit www.dramaforlife.co.za or www.statetheatre.co.za


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