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Wednesday, February 21, 2018


(Francis Mennigke appears in “The Blue Period of Milton van der Spuy”)

The 12th annual Hexagon Minifest takes place in Pietermaritzburg this weekend, February 23 and 24. Among performances of song, dance, and music are four award-winning theatre shows.


18h00: The Blue Period of Milton van der Spuy by Greig Coetzee.
Milton van der Spuy has a few problems, and they’re making him blue. He really wants to complete his next poem, but he has hit a block with finding a rhyme for orange. He is desperate to finish his current painting, except he cannot find a way to begin. And then there is the constant danger that his head might explode…

Named after the famous poet, Milton is an artist whose talents lie, um … elsewhere. His mother, a pathetic woman, who tries to live vicariously through her son’s meagre talents, has filled his not so intellectual brain with fantasies of being a great artist. Coetzee’s extraordinary talent for comedy and pathos brings us a character who is at once appealing and laughable, but draws us closer and closer to tragedy as we start to distinguish between his artistic fantasies and the ugly reality.

Milton is naïve, simple and totally compelling as he makes us face pretentious notions of Art and consider the nature of beauty and tragedy within the comedic framework of a middle class white South African man with no prospects. Despite his unique, ‘differently abled’ mind, everyone can relate to this small man with huge dreams as he struggles to fly above his own mediocre life.

From the 2017 Hilton Arts Festival to the Cape Town Fringe Festival, playwright Greig Coetzee’s most simple, and yet most complex character is brought to life by award-winning actor, Francis Mennigke, in this production directed by Peter Mitchell.

19h45: Undalo by Ndumiso Mazibuko
This play looks at the issues of rape and gender inequalities. This is story of a young female who tells a story of how rape became part of her life and the interrogation of the meaning of FEMALE. This is a deep interrogation of the biblical, cultural and political impact in this inequality. Can Ndalo answer these entire questions? The play alerts society to the ramifications of indiscretions in life. There are many children who are abandoned by their parents, at birth and left with grandparents, some of them survive and grow up in pain and loneliness and at the risk of sexual abuse. Just imagine an ideal world with no hunger for power, no crime, filled with Ubuntu and caring for generation to come, is the ideal achievable?


12h00: Tswalo by Billy Langa. Directed by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana
Tswalo is a tale told through lyrical prose, poetry and physical storytelling entwined to interrogate the rules that govern life on earth, such as power, creation, politics, connection, and intuition.

The performers’ expression of his ‘source’ being a spiritual quest that gives the audiences the baton to walk through their own paradigm of ontology, Tswalo’s poetry, prose and stories furnish us with the necessary tools into a deep meditation. It undoubtedly begs the question (or theory) of being, becoming and unbecoming.

Tswalo is the winner of the Cape Town Fringe Fresh Performer Award and Cape Town Fringe Fresh Creative Award for Directing. In Tswalo, the performer’s expression of his spiritual “source” gives the audiences the baton to walk through their own paradigm of ontology, the poetry, prose and physical storytelling furnish us with the necessary tools into a deep meditation.

To remember is an art form, to go into the biological memory, and to rely on bone and DNA as sources of information in the time travel of both past and future is an intuitive skill. To awaken the primary senses in anatomy is perhaps the answer to the social responsibility and the political queries of this world. Tswalo is a body of poems constructed to fragment a narrative that is carried in both physicality and Voice. It is placed in a timeless space of existence, which explores the primary themes of being, chaos and beauty, blood and birth, love and war in the same frame.

The multi award-winning production has played to sold out houses and received great reviews and responses.

14h30: Kafka’s Ape. Adapted from Kafka’s A Report to an Academy. Directed by Phala Ookeditse Phala and performed by Tony Miyambo.

The play is about a primate’s struggle to overcome the confines of captivity. It engages in an allegorical observation of the South African society through the eyes of other; the ape Red Peter. In 2015 it won a Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival.

A challenging play in which traditional boundaries, categories, and norms are questioned; in which beauty, harmony, and symmetry are usurped by cruelty, dissonance, and abnormality. It opens up the reality that there exists something outside of and in addition to our “normal,” “typical,” “wholesome” world, and that is “other”. The play thus compels audiences to identify and to meditate on their rejoinder to other(ness) as it highlights the complexities of identity in post-apartheid South Africa and in the human race in general.

The Hexagon Theatre is a theatre complex that is part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. For more information phone 033 260 5537, email: or visit