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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Play by Max Frisch to be presented for three nights only at Hexagon Studio Theatre in Pietermaritzburg.

“The Andorrans are easy going people but when it’s a question of money.....”

This is one of the key questions asked and answered by one of the characters in the production of Andorra which will be performed by second and third year UKZN drama students in the Hexagon Theatre in a short run from September 29.

Not a very well-known play in South Africa, Andorra was written by Max Frisch in 1961 as a generation of young Germans were struggling to come to terms with the guilt and shame of anti-Semitism. As such, the play tackles issues of prejudice, betrayal, labelling of others and the tension that can exist between national and individual identity. The question of how often do we label other people? How often do we live our lives trying to adjust our behaviour to suit other people’s perceptions of us? In Max Frisch’s play we get to see the tragic consequences of such stereotyping and isolation of other human beings based on difference, whether real or constructed.

Set as an imaginary republic, Andorra is under threat as her powerful neighbours “the Blacks”, are threatening to invade this tiny precious country. The Andorrans fear they will lose their national identity, possessions and pride and in an attempt to protect themselves single out Andri (Chris Couperthwaite), the foundling son of a local school teacher Can (Reneldon Moodley), based on a lie about his identity. The irony of the matter is that the victim is no Jew at all, and so the perceptions of difference and how that should and is handled by humanity is put under the spotlight.

These questions of the threat to the coexistence of multiple identities, raised by Max Frisch in 1961 are still relevant in our own society today - the hatred and anger that rises in the hearts of human beings when they perceive their own security and comfort to be under threat. An investigation which draws parallels to South Africa right now as communities have recently had to deal with the reality, violence and embarrassment of Xenophobic attacks. Even though South Africans perceive themselves as a friendly nation, the local masses felt threatened by the presence of refugees and so acted with inhumanity.

Andorra runs for three nights only from September 29 to October 1 with performances at 18h30. Tickets R40 (R20 students and scholars) available at the door. The show runs for just over two hours including interval. More information on 033 260 5537.