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Sunday, August 20, 2017


(Brian Duma, Sbonelo Nzuza & Malusi Buthelezi)

#thestruggleisreal! (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

The Courtyard Theatre is no stranger to new South African Theatre, as it often bears witness to the talent that is fostered in the Drama and Production Studies Department. This time it is the turn of Mbasa Tsetsana, a talented young writer, theatre actor and director from East London. Tsetsana has written for Muvhango, ETV and now turns his attention to the stages of The Courtyard with The Chronicles of Jack.

The Chronicles of Jack, directed by Sphephelo Dlamini and Dr Pamela Tancsik, reveals the life of a young artist who wins a bursary to study the performing arts in Johannesburg. He leaves his mother, friends and home to seek his fortune in the city of Johannesburg as an artist. It true metatheatre style, the story reveals the struggles of becoming an actor whilst also dealing with socio-political issues like homophobia, Xhosa rituals of going to the mountains to become a man, absent fathers, overbearing mothers who remind us of the struggles of June 1976 and our current #feesmustfall.

The cast, ranging from first to third year students, perform rap battles, song and dance routines. Brian Duma offers a confident and sophisticated performance throughout, along with Zizipho Nontso as the overbearing and stern mother, Malusi Buthelezi the absent father and Professor, and Sbonelo Nzuza as the hero Jack. Standing out of the crowd of 25 or so extras was Minenhle Mhlamvu who exhibited great energy and conviction to his various roles.

I did feel that the show was a little too long at two hours and the pace lagged a little. There were inconsistencies in the transitions and the blackouts did not help to continue the flow of the piece. Perhaps the narrator figure could have been used more to transition from scene to scene and the set up of chairs, for example and amongst other things, could have been sped up.
Well done to the team involved for engaging in new theatre that spoke the issues of the students trying to make it into the industry. -  Verne Rowin Munsamy