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Sunday, March 17, 2013


(Nozipho Mbhele who, among others, puts in a captivating performance)

Applause to Marcia Peschke for the courage to address sensitive issues in a theatrical form. (Review by Philisiwe Sithole)

Living Dead Girl is presented by Courtyard Theatre written and directed by Marcia Peschke with lighting design by Mthandazo Mofokeng, video editing by Wesleigh Thomas Hall and music accompaniment and arrangement by Dumisani Mkhize. This production is made possible by the kind arrangements of SAMRO.

As you enter Courtyard Theatre premises you are welcomed by students whose faces are painted with the death image directing you to an exhibit room with theatrical elements. Deafening silence conjures your thoughts, heaviness oozes in your body and creates numbness as you are face to face with victims of rape, genital amputation, kidnapping.

This exhibition promotes Black Thursday in fighting this alarming scourge which disproportionately affects every girl child, women, mothers and grandmothers. The room is filled with pamphlets and articles on a wall about raping of our women and soliciting this horrid deed. The purpose of this exhibit is to prepare you with facts and realities for the production you about to watch. It acts as an entrance to a life of women.

Living Dead Girl continues the theme of the exhibition in using performance styles that include auto-ethnography, spoken word poetry and multimedia as these styles are self-reflecting and immediately create a sense of urgency and self-searching on how people contribute to prolong violence against women.

The play is also about empowering women, man and transgenders in taking a stand in their own differences and right to be heard. Living Dead Girl has fragmented structure of scenes, songs and images portraying different women from different cultures. There is no through line or story, yet different characters come back in different scenes. The director could have shortened the two and a half hour show but should be applauded for the courage to address these sensitive issues in a theatrical form.

The show ends in a group image in which all the characters leave the theatre holding a stick, preparing for a battle ahead of them. Captivating performances from Nozipho Mbhele, Mayenziwe Zuma, Lungile Mtshali, Kagisho Tsimakwane, Cwesile Mkise, Gugu Mbhele, Nokwanda Nhleko, Noxolo Msomi and the rest of the cast showed dedication and commitment in telling the story.

Living Dead Girl runs until March 21 at the Courtyard Theatre, Mansfield Road. Bookings and more information on 031 373 2194. - Philisiwe Sithole