A poignant reminder and piece of theatre. (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)
It isn’t often that one gets to revel in the presence of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, the Clermont Choir, actors from The Playhouse Company’s Actors Studio and legends who had walked the march to Parliament in 1956, demanding their rights to freedom and the abolishment of the pass system for women. I Took a Stand, Commemorating the 1956 women’s march, brings it all together in the Opera Theatre in a work commissioned and presented by The Playhouse Company.
Edmund Mhlongo directs the writings of Thuli Zama, who writes from actual interviews, with finesse as he gravitates the audience towards these lived stories from the women’s struggle of 1956.
The stories are revealed by four actresses who are mostly commendable for their poise and sensitivity through which they depict experiences of police brutality, physical abuse, eviction for not carrying the correct papers, and the solidarity found amongst these women during the struggle and who ‘Took a Stand!’.
I was delighted to see so many faces of past students of mine who have developed into formidable actors. I was most engrossed by the performance of Mpume Majola whose voice could melt butter and showed that she isn’t just a confident actress. The actresses intrigued and reminded us of the indignities suffered by women, specifically women of colour. We are reminded by these stories, You Strike the Woman, You Strike the Rock!
Not to be outshone, the Clermont Choir and the Philharmonic Orchestra are militantly precise in their execution and this poignant theatre piece ends with the marching on to the stage of seven women who had braved the streets and made the march to Parliament buildings in 1956, a well earned standing ovation for these living, golden legacies. A poignant reminder and piece of theatre. - Verne Rowin Munsamy