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Monday, January 22, 2018


Junkets is a small independent publisher dedicated to publishing new South African plays. With Andisiwe Mgibantaka as its CEO and Robin Malan as its Editorial Manager, it ferrets out new work being done by mainly young South African theatre workers, in any number of small informal theatre venues: old converted church halls, small spaces created out of nowhere in townships, a 40-seater theatre above a flourishing café and bar.

Robin Malan has just announced the work about to be published soon. His Playscript Series has a new Time Sequence of four plays that look forward to a South Africa that not everyone will want to know about! The publication-date for the first three is January 30, 2018.

First up is Ameera Conrad’s Reparation. This is an imagining of what a future government of South Africa may require as reparation for past ills and evil. The Supreme Cadre works with her adviser on planning the three-pronged approach to reparation: economic, land and sacrifice. A young white Afrikaans-speaking woman is selected as the sacrifice. A upwardly mobile Coloured ‘young professional’, Marco Adonis, is only too ready to take on the role of emcee of the reparation event – until, that is, he discovers it is he who will wield the weapon that brings to an end the passionately patriotic life of Hanneli Janse van Rensburg.

Cleverly, the author manages to make the play funny as well as unnerving. The play has had a successful season at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory, Cape Town, before going to the 2017 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown as part of the Arena Programme. The play will find a ready home in all public libraries, as well as those of schools and university drama departments.

Reparation. ISBN 978-0-9946902-6-5. 80 pages. Price R160. This playscript was published with the generous support of the Cape 300 Foundation.

Ameera Conrad was born in Cape Town, and graduated with distinction from UCT’s Drama Department in 2015 as a Theatre Maker (Honours). She has received acclaim as a writer, director, and performer on stage and screen. Conrad has appeared in Dr Godenstein’s Man, What Remains and at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in People Beneath Our Feet. She was one of the recipients of the 2016 Theatre Arts Admin Collective’s Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary, under whose auspices she directed her self-written piece, Reparation – which has subsequently been performed at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. She is also an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors’ Lab in New York. She is a co-curator, co-writer and performer in The Fall. She is a twice-published playwright, and is taking the South African theatre scene by storm.

The second play in the Time Sequence, also published on January 20, 2018, is KUDU by Lwanda Sindaphi.

KUDU is an imagining of a delegation of Khoi people to the amaXhosa in the Eastern Cape. Their demands are simple: they want their land and homeland returned to them. There are complex and complicated negotiations around this. The dialogue is poetic; and the physical staging of the play is faithfully reproduced. The play has had a successful season at the Magnet Theatre in Observatory, Cape Town. It succeeds in marrying a heightened poetic style of dialogue and all the elements of physical theatre. It belongs in all public libraries, and in high school and university libraries.

Lwanda Sindaphi was born in Fort Beaufort and moved to Cape Town in the early 1990s. He is an actor, playwright, theatre director and poet, co-founder and creative director of Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement. He holds a performing Arts Certificate from New Africa Theatre Academy. In 2014 he was named best poet in Africa by Badilisha Poetry. He teaches poetry at The Cypher, an organisation of young poets. From 2012 to 2016, Sindaphi studied physical theatre and acting at Magnet Theatre under Mark Fleishman and Jennie Reznek. He performed in plays like The Heart of Redness, an adaptation by Mark Fleishman of Zakes Mda’s famous novel, and Running with Gold Fish by Brink Scholtz. He was one of the Africa Theatre graduates who created and performed in Finally it Rains in the Desert with Clare Stopford in 2011. He co-directed Izityhilelo Zobuze, which was staged at Artscape for two consecutive years. His own theatre work as writer and director includes Achilles Heel, Sins of Others and Death, the Redeemer. He won the Best Director and Most Promising Production Awards for Death, the Redeemer. He has been trained in entrepreneurship at Artscape as part of the Incubator programme. He has travelled internationally with War Horse of the Handspring Puppets.

KUDU. ISBN 978-0-9946902-7-2. 70 pages. Price R140. This playscript was published with the generous support of the Arts & Culture Trust in association with Nedbank Arts Affinity.

In a very different vein, but also treating time in new innovative ways is Tswalo, written by Billy Langa in collaboration with Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, who also directs Langa, the performer of the work.

Tswalo is a series of poems that explore time, history, memory, existence – all inside the framework of intense concentrated physical performance. The mythic and mystical exist side by side with sharply observed reality. The play has had several highly successful seasons at various theatre venues in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as at the 2017 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. It has also toured to Germany. It belongs in all public libraries, and in high school and university libraries.

Billy Langa is a performer, writer, director and educator; and a Naledi Theatre Award winner for Best Production for Young Audiences for Just Antigone. As a performer he was seen in, among others: Little Foot; Thirst; Ubuntu-Spirit (UK & SA); Contacting the World 2010, Manchester; Passages directed By Robert Haxton (NAF); PoetOtype; Egoli; and Ankobia. In addition, he has been seen in Sex and Me by Clara Vaughan and directed by Craig Morris; and Short Stories Alive directed by Neil Coppen, produced by ShakeXperience. Langa was one of the 12 writers who were chosen by the Royal Court Theatre for the staged readings of the New Plays from South Africa: After 20 Years of Democracy. Directing: Just Antigone; Sophiatown; Everyman; Finding Melo and The Good Person of Szechwan.

Tswalo. ISBN 978-0-9946902-8-9. Pages tba. Price tba. This playscript was published with the generous support of the Arts & Culture Trust in association with Nedbank Arts Affinity.

Mahlatsi Mokgonyana is a director, actor and facilitator: recipient of the TAAC emerging theatre director’s bursary; Naledi Theatre Award winner for Best Production for Young Audiences, supported by Assitej SA, for Just Antigone, and BroadwayworldZA Nominee for best revival of a play, for his direction of Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa!; The Good Person of Szechwan; The Hungry Earth; I See You and, in addition, he collaborated with Christian Bloem from Holland and created SHH!, a play for young audiences; and went on to direct two new plays for teens, Complexion and Finding Melo. As a performer he was seen in: Egoli; Sex and Me; DET Boys’ High; and Ketekang: the musical.

GayJunkets, the publisher’s gay-interest imprint, is happy to announce the publishing in April 2018 of Neil Coppen’s major new play, NewFoundLand. This becomes No. 4 in Then Time Sequence of plays.

The lives of two young men – a white anaesthetist and a black dance student currently undergoing training to become a sangoma (ukuthwasa) – collide in a number of ways which blend and merge reality, dream, memory … Time becomes pliable, elastic, unpredictable. The structure of the play is appropriately fragmentary, and warrants careful attention by the reader. The play has had a successful season in Johannesburg. It was presented as BuiteLand at the KKNK in 2017. It won Best Supporting Actor for Kopano Maroga; and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Elize Cawood. It belongs in all public libraries, and in high school and university libraries.

Neil Coppen works as an actor, writer, director and designer in Durban. His numerous theatrical collaborations include works with visual artists, writers, community groups, filmmakers, authors, animators, choreographers and musicians. His plays include Suicidal Pigeons, Two …, The Beginning of the End (co-written and performed with Clare Mortimer), Tin Bucket Drum and Tree Boy – and, most successfully, Abnormal Loads. He was included in the 2011 Mail & Guardian list of 200 Young South Africans and has won several awards for his work, including the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre in 2011. Coppen is currently directing Tsotsi the musical

NewFoundLand. ISBN 978-0-9946902-7-2. Pages tba. Price tba. This playscript was published with the generous support of the Arts & Culture Trust in association with Nedbank Arts Affinity.

One more to watch out for is the 2017 Winner of the Zabalaza Theatre Festival at the Baxter Theatre Centre, Boy Ntulikazi by Thobani Nzuza.

Boy Ntulikazi is an account of a young man trying to trace his parentage and ancestry. Brought up on a farm, he has grown up with the idea that the white farmer Baas Pieter is his father. He embarks on a quest to find out his true parentage – with some disconcerting discoveries along the way. It is, unhappily, a very South African story.

The play is the 2017 Winner of the Zabalaza Theatre Festival, held at the Baxter Theatre Centre. This is the first winner to come from KwaZulu-Natal. This is the sixth playscript published in the BaxterJunkets series, in collaboration with the Baxter Theatre Centre. The play has had a successful season at the Golden Arrow Studio at the Baxter Theatre Centre. It belongs in all public libraries, and in high school and university libraries.

Thobani Nzuza was born in uMlazi Township in KwaZulu-Natal, He began his journey in the arts (2010) in a community arts centre (under Buhle ‘Bo’ Mlazi, dancer, singer and actor), before he enrolled at Durban University of Technology, Drama and Production Studies 2013. Besides numerous DUT productions, Nzuza has participated in a number of professional productions. He has also pushed himself on other fronts – writing plays, performing at K-CAP, directing and becoming involved in film. His first professional production, Silencing the Hurricanes by Themi Venturas, was performed in Bangkok in 2014. He also wrote and directed Shintsha Guluva for Isigcawu Festival in 2014 and received Best Director Award. In 2015 he performed in one of Menzi Mkhwane’s plays, Secret Valley of the Great Kings, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the Durban Mercury Theatre Awards. In the same year he also collaborated with Kagisho Tshimakwane in writing his first one-man show, Boy Ntulikazi, which he performed, receiving Best Actor Award at the Isigcawu Festival in 2015. In 2016 Nzuza was one of the students who represented Africa in the Shakespeare Festival in Germany (Folkwang Universität der Künste), in Much Ado about Nothing, directed by Debbie Lutge.

The publication-date for this BaxterJunkets playscript is the opening night of the 2018 Zabalaza Theatre Festival on March 9, 2018.

Boy Ntulikazi. ISBN 978-0-9946902-9-6. Pages tba. Price tba. This playscript is published in partnership with the Baxter Theatre Centre.

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