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Thursday, July 16, 2015


(Zoey Martinson, Jonathan David Martin & Yusef Miller)

Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative, in association with The Playhouse Company, presents the award-winning new production, Ndebele Funeral, in The Playhouse Loft for four performances from tonight (July 16)

 The widely acclaimed three-hander comes to The Playhouse stage straight from off-Broadway, New York, and The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Written by Zoey Martinson and directed by Awoye Timpo, Ndebele Funeral is performed by Jonathan David Martin (Bway: War Horse - Lincoln Centre, Leonore Annenberg Foundation Fellowship for the Arts), Zoey Martinson (The Public, Shakespeare in the Park, TBS Sitcom: Are We There Yet) and Yusef Miller (Classic Stage Company, Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellow). Ndebele Funeral is based on a short play by Ivan Suazo.

Set in Soweto, South Africa, Ndebele Funeral asks, what do you do when your resources are few and your life a ticking clock? Build your own coffin and claim your dignity? Daweti, a college graduate living with HIV, exiles herself from her friends and family, and uses government supplies to set about doing just that.

Using music, dance and the sounds of Soweto, Ndebele Funeral asks - do you have the right to choose your own death? How does religion and culture own your morality? Heart-breaking and hilarious, the play centres on the emotional resolve of Daweti, a college graduate whose controversial decision to end her life has moving repercussions for her devoted friend, Thabo. As aspirations and disappointments surface inside Daweti’s tiny shack, the play explores issues of poverty, religion, distribution of wealth, politics and health care in modern South Africa.

Zoey Martinson wrote Ndebele Funeral after working as a humanitarian aid worker at a refugee camp in West Africa and then travelled to South Africa to interview people living in the informal settlements around Soweto.

New York based Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative was founded by Zoey Martinson and Jonathan David Martin over a shared passion for creating art around social justice issues.

Ndebele Funeral will move on to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. It was the winner of the Overall Excellent Award for Best Play at Fringe NYC in 2013

Production credits include choreography by Sduduzo Ka-Mbili and Cuereston Burge, original music by Spirits Indigenous and Tuelo Minah, and musical direction by Tuelo Minah. Lighting design is by Justin W King, and the production’s lighting associate is Wilhelm Disbergen. Costume design is by Lara de Bruijn. John Emmett O’Brien is the sound designer and Josephine Ronga is the production’s stage manager. Ndumiso Khovana serves as dramaturge.

Ndebele Funeral runs in the Playhouse Loft from July 16 to 19 with performances from Thursday to Saturday of at 19h00, with a matinee on July 19 at 15h00. The duration of the show is 75 minutes. Tickets R60 (R20 students and pensioners). Book at Computicket 0861 915 9000 or online at