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Saturday, March 19, 2011


(Vivian Moodley)

Guest artist of Stable Theatre’s Phambili 2011 festival is veteran actor/playwright and director, Vivian Moodley, whose roots go back to the early days of Stable Theatre. His show, Cast the First Stone, is presented on March 18 at 20h00.

When quizzed about being a veteran performer in a festival focusing on youth, Moodley (60) smiled. “When do you stop being a youth?” he says. “I’ve always been 17 years younger than everyone else! Seriously, I am flattered and very surprised. You see, I have been involved in the performing arts for well on 30 years and I have found it very difficult to get on any database of organisations that serve in KZN.”

The Stable Theatre building was turned into a performance venue by writer, actor, playwright and director Kessie Govender in the early 1990’s. Moodley followed Kessie Govender’s work since his late teens and remembers that he was always in awe of the man and his politics. “He was an enigma, really. What stood out for us though, the younger set, was his determination to fight the system at all costs. He appeared to be a hardcore soldier of the struggle and yet he wrote with so much depth and caring. He appealed through his work to young and old to stand up and fight. I hope some day he is really recognised for all his efforts.

Moodley collaborated on his ENACT production, Hamba Kahle Moodley, with Kessie Govender and he appeared in a once-off performance of Govender’s play, Decision.

“Kessie Govender was a monument,” he continues. “He was the Stable Theatre and one must not lose sight of the fact that there were other people who stood by him through those dark years, people like Farouk Hoosen Sayed who is an actor and a writer of note. He was Kessie’s right hand man. There are some great untold stories about the Stable Theatre. And, oh yes the venue has to be revitalized. That dream has to be kept alive. I sincerely hope that there will be further initiatives like the Phambili Festival in future.”

Cast the First Stone takes a look at one problem that confronts society. One that is there daily but is not so noticeable, a problem that is not so apparent. The sickness of child abuse, especially the abuse by a parent.

“With so many social ills that pain our society we are often rendered powerless,” Moodley explains. “We are reduced to being mere spectators. We look away or sometimes we look on from the sidelines. Cast The First Stone is a one-hander that tells of Norman, a sexually abused boy. Norman is condemned to spend the rest of his life in a facility for the mentally challenged after he is found guilty of parricide (the killing of a parent). We meet Norman as a grown man who is almost childlike in his behaviour. He leads us on a tour through the facility. This journey exposes the evil goings-on inside its walls and tells of a system gone wrong.

“The play examines our society’s handling of young offenders and the “quick fix” methods employed when a solution cannot be readily found,” continues Moodley. “It’s a heart-wrenching tale of the fate suffered by an innocent child who is a victim of a child molester and is left to the mercy of society, a society that does not have a clue how to handle such issues.”

The Phambili Festival is sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Department of Arts & Culture KZN, Ethekwini Municipality and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).