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Thursday, January 15, 2009


Strong performance by Phumzile Masin in story of women struggling to survive, living with choices apparently not made by them, (Review by Shika Budhoo)

Women Who Wait, a one woman show written and produced by Zuki Vutela, performed by Phumzile Masin and directed by Vivian Moodley, with Madala Kunene on guitar; attempts to portray the various plights of assortment of women.

In the show, the four woman characters that seemed focal characters were that of the coloured pregnant teenager, the businesswoman who owns a construction company, the prostitute and the preacher. The show began with the introduction of a radio DJ who was presenting on radio station An introduction to the renowned Madala Kunene got the show going. She answers calls and reads letters from avid listeners to the show and we are consequently given their selected stories.

Masin, a skilled performer, has a unique energy on stage. I particularly enjoyed her vibrant portrayal of the preacher, and found myself frequently replying ‘hallelujah’ and ‘amen’ in response to her statements. One statement this character made and emphasized with grace, confidence and prowess of a woman, was when she was preaching about the behaviours women should avoid she concluded “… stop directing your complaints to you men… change your point of view…” at which point she changes her tested glasses for a classic pair of yellow sunglasses and aptly points out “Your future is too bright…” It is great words to build a woman’s confidence in herself, and made me for a moment realize that it very well maybe that easy ‘to change your point of view’ when it may help.

Masin is blessed with features that physically transform on stage with the aid of different costume. It was difficult to believe that when she was on stage, dressed as a prostitute, drunk and falling over that she was the same radio DJ that opened the show. Apart from a quickly pulled on wig, with hair hanging out the back, it was an entertaining scene, hiccups included.

Madala Kunene provided a live-soundtrack to the piece and played alongside Masin. From beginning to end it was a marvel to see his ease on stage, a comfort obviously learnt from many years in entertainment, inspiration and pure soul sounds. Masterfully he has the rhythm for emotive music that strums a soul chord.

However, I don’t think he particularly fitted in with the running themes of the show. After a slow start, the show needed to be propelled and upbeat, rather than emotive, music may have been an option to match the passion of the characters presented and further enhance the slow links between scenes. More pace was desperately needed and the numerous costume changes slowed the show down. We were often left waiting for something to happen, perhaps a nod to the title? Set was minimal, lighting simple and props present were under-used. I felt if other props and a detailed DJ box were added to the set, a tighter performance may have been presented. Throughout the show there were projections on a screen of subject matter pertaining to the individual monologues delivered. Audio visual features Khwezi Ngwenya; Nosipho Ngwendu and Phumzile Mabunda.

Women Who Wait told the story of women struggling to survive, living with choices apparently not made by them… and towards the end of the play the preacher character dishes out motivating words intending to mobilize the women present. -Shika Budhoo