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Friday, September 21, 2012


(David Dennis and Fiona Ramsay. Photo: Ruphin Coudyzer FPPS)

An amazing array of theatre, from throughout South Africa, and further afield, has been selected for the 20th Witness Hilton Arts Festival, taking place at Hilton College this coming weekend from September 21 to 23. 

One of the much anticipated productions is Delirium - a playful and pertinent allegory for the ethnic and nationalist divisions we see across the world. The action is set against the backdrop of invented lands at war where an elderly couple, played by the formidable David Dennis and Fiona Ramsay, hang onto a series of delusions as a means to survive against the insanity of borders that have been created by State and family.  

A guard arrives, played by Fezile Mpela and a new boundary line is drawn over the middle of the couple’s bed, dividing their house into two countries. What follows is a series of farcical events resulting in a play that poignantly explores the absurdity of manmade boundaries and borders. 

The play is written by the internationally acclaimed Chilean American novelist, playwright, and human rights activist, Ariel Dorfman, whose most famous play, Death and the Maiden, was made into a film in 1994 by Roman Polanski and starred Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley.  

This staging of Delirium - Dorfman's newest play – had its world-premiere at The Market Theatre in August as part of the Mail & Guardian Johannesburg Literary Festival.. Its premiere was made possible by funding from the Ford Foundation in New York.  

The production’s stellar cast is directed by Greg Homann who recently won two Standard Bank Ovation Awards at this year's National Arts Festival (Brothers in Blood and One-Woman Farce) and whose five-man version of The Pirates of Penzance was nominated for nine Naledi Awards this year, winning three, including Best Cutting Edge Ensemble. 

Delirium has performances in the Memorial Hall at Hilton College on Saturday at 10h00 and Sunday at 14h30. Duration is 90 minutes. Suitable for 12 years +.