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Friday, January 9, 2009


Musho Festival opens with story based on an ancient myth from the San People. (Review by Maurice Kort)

It's Musho International Festival of One and Two Hander Theatre time again, for the fourth successive year, hosted by the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) in KZN at the Catalina Theatre and the BAT Centre from January 8 to 18. The festival opened with Rain, based on an ancient myth from the San People, performed by Mpume Mthombeni, directed by Giselle Turner to a very appreciative audience. The Bat Centre is an ideal venue for the play, the air-conditioning being a huge bonus in the present hot Durban summer weather.

The Rain of the title was once a beautiful woman who lived a long time ago in the sky. Mpume Mthombeni slowly enters the stage and sets the scene of the village with its good and bad people to a background of lightning flashes and a drum, which she pounds energetically. She takes the part of Rain and her husband Flame as well as a myriad of other characters including three daughters, initially depicted by puppets, and their son Saleeb, born later.

As the story and the action unfold Mpume Mthombeni morphs into even more characters, including a suitor after the daughter and Wolf, displaying remarkable versatility. Dancing as both members of the couple, as well as several styles, and song help to further the story of how Rain descends from the sky to earth, with Saleeb and what subsequently happens to them.

The interaction between celestial and terrestrial beings, the triumph of good over evil, the power of nature and death are all interwoven in this simple story.

Each of the 13 plays included in the Musho Festival has two performances, the second performance of Rain being at the Bat Hall Theatre on January 9 at 18h00. Tickets R50 (R25 students and pensioners). There are also season tickets at R200 for five shows. For more information and to book tickets contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889.

The Festival includes several Master Classes. For further details and to see the full programme, visit the web site

PANSA has acknowledged the generous support of the National Arts Council, Africalia, the Bat Centre, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts, Culture & Tourism, Tararam (the South African-Israel Culture Fund) and the City of Durban. – Maurice Kort