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Thursday, February 21, 2013


“Tony Miyambo in Red Peter’s Way Out”

Tomorrow evening and Saturday evening, The Hexagon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg will host the 7th Annual Theatre Minifest, showcasing the best in New South African one and two person plays, performed by new up and coming performers, as well as established well-known actors.

February 22 (Friday) at 16h00: Locked-In, Locked-Out

“We leave you in the morning before work, we see you again only once the sun goes down, we escape you in the holidays and we treasure you on the weekends ... you are our house, and together we are a home.”

Benjamin Bell and Monique Hill have crafted a little piece of magic that grows out of a set entirely made up of brown moving boxes. Through the use of this clever design stories of people, of you and of me, are interwoven, each struggling with their own concept of "home". The play asks: How does space, a house, become a home? How does a house alienate us from the outside world; how does it give us joy; how does it comfort us and when does it feel like we need to move out and move on with our lives? Hill aptly treats her five characters with the utmost respect and humility. The gentleness of Locked-In, Locked-Out is its real strength. We're treated to bursts of laughter and painful self-truths that can only be likened to those quirky French films that fill one with that sensation that can only be described as: the joy of life.

February 22 (Friday) at 19h45: Pockets of Knowledge

Pockets of Knowledge tells a simple story set against the backdrop of a typical African village. Inside this village two young boys witness an event that changes their lives and in the midst of this, they continuously look to their mentors, Chief Babu’ Mantshongo and an exceptionally impactful teacher Mazibuko.

After a successful run at the Durban University of Technology’s Arts Gallery, Pockets of Knowledge received a nomination at The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards in the category for best New South African Script. The play is written and performed by Sabelo Ndlovu and Menzi Mkhwane, who have just won an Audience Favourite Award at Musho! Festival for their new show, Looking into the Abyss. In 2010, Sabelo Ndlovu co-wrote and directed Fragmented Prism!, a student production which premiered at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. In the same year, Menzi Mkhwane (son of celebrated theatre actor, creator and director Bheki Mkhwane) became one of four South Africans chosen to work in Holland as part of the Dutch production of Oliver Twist. He was then introduced into the Durban theatre scene with Belly of the Beast which he performed alongside his father. He has recently been seen in a lead role in Horn of Sorrow.

February 23 (Saturday) at 16h00: Red Peter’s Way Out

‘A way out, A way out’, cries Red Peter in his address to the academy. Caught between a Human and an Ape, Red Peter has lost his essence. Red Peter’s Way Out is a one-hander that depends on physicality to express the character and its world. The deliberate physicality is meant to reference the physical self as a point of external identity conflicting with the internal identity. Relaying his story, Red Peter speaks from the heart and wants everyone to share the depth of his ape to human transformation story.

Writer/Director Phala Ookeditse’s adaptation of Kafka’s A Report to an Academy is an in-depth exploration of an identity crisis. Who are we as Post-Apartheid South Africans? Moreover, what makes us South Africans in the first place? Through the brilliantly crafted script, the play tackles these challenging questions head on. But it is through Tony Miyambo's performance that we identify with Red Peter: his highly strung physicality, the death-defying climbing and jumping, his insight into the human condition, his pain and his pleasures.

“Miyambo in his pseudo-academic voice – delivers a performance that really makes you think not just about his identity as a Man/Ape, but your own identity, in your own country.”- The Citizen

February 23 (Saturday) at 17h45: Behind the Curtain of Justice

This play says a lot about men, their attitudes, their anger, their lies and suspicion. Behind The Curtain of Justice is conceptualised by Wiseman Mncube, written and directed by Radwinn Paul van Wyk and performed by Musa Ntuli and Monde Tshazi. A middle aged detective gets a surprise visit from an old high school friend who is also an undercover detective. They both have something to hide. Peppered with moments of light comedy and sarcasm, the audience is kept in suspense by the gradual unmasking of the lives of these two characters.

February 23 (Saturday) at 19h30: Callum’s Will

The highly acclaimed play that has enthralled audiences country-wide for the last two years is finally at the Hex! The beautiful and intimate story of Callum’s Will takes the audience on an almost filmic experience as the unlikely relationship of the two male characters evolves from an awkward first encounter to a deep and lasting friendship which neither expects or understands. Sometimes in life friendships choose us. People enter our lives for the wrong reasons but at exactly the right moment to save us from ourselves.

Set in London’s early 90’s the two characters come from completely different backgrounds in. Callum is a cultured man in his mid-forties, an ex-ballet dancer whose career was cut short by a tragic accident which has left paraplegic and in a wheel chair. Disconnected from his “friends” and previous life he is unable to cope and forced to seek assistance in the unlikely form of Will.

Will – a boy in his mid-20’s from the wrong side of the tracks - is the result of growing up in mass unemployment and a country of state benefits. Surrounded by friends who have accepted their lot in life, Will however is not bereft of hope and dreams. Something his eccentric, late mother left as a seed and is about to germinate.

The story takes the audience on a journey of laughter and sometimes tears but essentially full of hope as it offers a quiet window into the tiny intricacies of human behaviour and interaction which we never really get the opportunity to observe. Written and directed by Janna Ramos-Violante and performed by Darren King and Clinton Small.

February 22: Locked-In, Locked-Out and Pockets of Knowledge and February 23: Red Peter’s Way Out; Behind the Curtain of Justice and Callum’s Will. Performances take place in the Hexagon Theatre on the UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus. Tickets R60 per show or R250 for all five shows. Bookings on 033 260 5537or email: Seating is unreserved.