national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


(Ntando Mncube & Liesl Coppin. Pic: Val Adamson)

Lewis Nkosi’s riveting work The Black Psychiatrist is “akin to taking the history of the struggle and the shifting balance of power and synergizing these values within socio-culturally constructed roles that embrace race and gender all within a framework with surprising twists and turns that positions the psycho analytical gaze both without and within” says DUT Drama and Performance Studies HOD and The Black Psychiatrist’s director, Prof. Deb Lutge.

The play which lasts an hour explores an entire gamut of audience emotions from embarrassment to mirth, from fear to contemplation all layered with the poignant beauty of Lewis Nkosi’s astute and provocative writing.

This production in the DUT City Campus Arthur Smith Hall is the first South African professional premiere of this work. Endorsed by Prof Bawa, The Black Psychiatrist is being mounted after an initiative by Prof Graham Stewart set the ball in motion.

Prof Astrid Starck, Nkosi’s widow will offer a Lewis Nkosi seminar at the DUT Courtyard Theatre on April 26 and open the play on the Saturday Freedom Day opening night, April 27 2013.

The Black Psychiatrist is a racy play that haunts, that encases ANC core values, that features politics but embraces Ubuntu, a play for high school and college learners, a play by a South African literary giant.

Lewis Nkosi, the writer of the school set book Mating Birds, moulds the excitement right from the start in striking fashion. Lutge’s vision is realized through the carnival mirror prison inhabited by contemporary decor designed by Bryan Hiles, with a surrealist collage of illumination by Mthandazo Mofokeng, both former DUT students.

Linguistically precise the play is set in a psychiatrist’s office and turns with Pinteresque style on questions of South African identity. The two hander features award-winning seasoned professional actors – both DUT graduates – Liesl Coppin and Ntando Mncube and accompanied by original musical composition and arrangement by DUT Drama and Production Studies Vocal Coach and Instrumentalist Madlen Tzankova and Richardt Wissink. “This is a must see,” says Lutge, “It will have you biting your nails while you perch on the edge of your seat in titillating anticipation.”

The show runs in Durban from April 27 to 30 at 19h00 at the Arthur Smith Hall, DUT City Campus, courtesy of DALRO, before moving to national theatres. Tickets R35 booked via or on 031 373 2532.