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Monday, October 7, 2013


(Gabi Harris & Khutjo Green)

Excellent and thought-provoking work deals with the xenophobia attacks of 2008. (Review by Pauline Dalais)

One of the most thought-provoking productions on this year’s Witness Hilton Arts Festival was The Line presented in association with The Market Theatre. Written and directed by Gina Shmukler, the production was made possible by DAC’s Mzanzi Golden Economy Touring Venture.

On a simple set comprising two chairs and a bench, the story starts in 2011 as a masters student – journalist and photographer - starts researching her story based on the xenophobia attacks of 2008.

The journalist talks to people affected by the attacks, some are victims, some perpetrators. Gabi Harris handled the interviews sympathetically.

Khutjo Green plays all the other characters. These include David, a South African hijacker who does not like foreigners because they “come into my country to take away jobs and our women”. We meet an ANC leader in council; a Mozambican shop owner (Elisa); a 35 year old South African who wants to be a businesswoman (Nomsa) and a Mozambican car mechanic (Alfred).

Through the workings of the play we get to see how xenophobia has its roots in lack of access to resources. The xenophobic attacks left the journalist/photographer depressed. At the end of the play, I was left wondering if Khutjo Green was personally affected by xenophobia because I felt her tears were from her heart. She gave an emotionally moving performance.

Charl-Johan Lingenfelder’s music and Niall Griffin’s design added to the all-round excellence of the piece. – Pauline Dalais