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Thursday, May 10, 2012


Good scripts and interesting storylines from young aspiring playwrights. (Review by Philisiwe Sithole)

Professor Debbie Lutge is the founder, co-ordinator, and artistic director of Durban University of Technology’s New Director’s Festival presented by the DUT Drama Department. She has just launched a follow-up with the current Playwright’s Festival which follows the previous two phases of the Director’s Festival and its impressive growth.

The Playwright Festival is a platform for new works by young unpublished playwrights. In this festival, actors carry scripts and read the manuscripts, without costumes or elaborate sets, often merely seated in a semi-circle with the writer reading stage directions. The audience is expected to visualise and participate.

This platform aims to improve scriptwriting skills - it is a written text than the performance text. All the scripts were 15 minutes.

The first script by Lungelwa Radebe titled Broken Commandments is about a family that is broken and very dysfunctional. The script also touches on themes like peer pressure, infidelity, religion and homosexuality. A family that has no values or morality. There were eight cast members and the script is written in English.

Charles T. Zulu’s Umemulo deals with Umemulo which is a traditional ceremony to introduce a young girl to adulthood. The script focuses on a young girl being chosen for marriage ad being introduced to adult life. However, the father does not approve of the boy because he comes from a family that is not wealthy and his greed leads to the death of the boy. The script has some beautiful moments and humour, and plays with themes of love, death and wealth. It is written in English with some lines in isiZulu.

The reading of the last script for the evening was Mbalenhle Sithole’s eish which is about a man who has secrets and lives a lie. His wife catches him cheating with another man and everyone involved in his life becomes affected by his deeds. He is expected to follow in his father's footsteps and become a husband to his wife but his secret longings will not allow him to follow this course.

This festival aims to encourage new works by new young South African writers. The plays have room to grow into one-act plays in the future. Day One’s writers did an excellent job of coming up with good storylines and it was a joy to watch the readings.

The festival ends this evening, May 10. Performance starts at 18h00 and entrance is free. – Philisiwe Sithole