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Tuesday, April 30, 2013


(Mfanafuthi Mbokazi and Sandile Mazibuko)

Umlabalaba was one of the four productions featured by The Playhouse Company in its fourth Community Arts Festival (CAF) which ran in the Playhouse Loft from April 11 to 20.

As previously, the Festival featured productions from KZN communities which received performance and theatre skills training from professional arts practitioners.

Providing training in voice production (speech), artSMart editor Caroline Smart was one of the industry professionals working with this year’s community artists. Others included Edmund Mhlongo (mentor and director); Ralph Lawson (directing and acting); (voice production); Peter Gardner (agents and auditions), Juan Burgers (music and singing); Ashwin Singh (scriptwriting, contracts and copyright); Peter Court (masks and physical theatre), Dr Emma Durden (administration & artistic management), Megan Levy (stage management), and Nkanyiso Kunene and Sandile Mbili (movement and dance).

“Obviously I can’t give a full review of this production as I was involved in its development,” says Caroline Smart, “but I must admit to being blown away by the growth of this production from an amusing two-hander to a highly professional comedy piece. Move over all the comedy duos you know of! Mfanafuthi Mbokazi (who scripted and directed the piece) and Sandile Mazibuko have natural comedy timing and if they continue exploring this field, they will be a force to be reckoned with, in the very near future!”

Umlabalaba is named after a board game and is devised as an analogy for government. It is cleverly-scripted and forthright in its criticism through humour – the most effective process!

The other three productions were Talking Spirits and Zion (Programme 1); and Sugar Daddies (Programme 2). (See separate articles)