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Sunday, March 6, 2022


(Above: Ashwin Singh, Cara Roberts, Sandile Mthembu, Ralph Lawson & Menzi Mkhwane. Pic by Val Adamson)

Singh returns to the stage after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.

Award-winning playwright, novelist and filmmaker, Ashwin Singh will return to the stage in March with the premiere production of his play, Free-Fall. The state-of-the-nation play will be staged at the Playhouse Loft from March 17 to 19.

Free-Fall is directed by legendary South African theatre-maker Ralph Lawson and features acclaimed actors Cara Roberts, Menzi Mkhwane, Mayuri Naidu, Sandile Mthembu and Singh himself. Tickets are just R50 because Singh acknowledges that the pandemic has decimated people’s finances and they have very little left to spend on entertainment. However, he believes that the theatre is the window to our souls, so he would like as many people as possible to have access to the important cultural engagement of experiencing a new play.

(Left: Mayuri Naidu)

Free-Fall is both a substantial artistic vehicle and an innovative piece of entertainment. It is a chase thriller with a paranormal element and also explores important themes in contemporary South Africa like endemic corruption, a culture of violence, freedom of the press and protection for whistle-blowers.

The protagonist of the piece, young journalist Karen Strydom is hiding from the antagonist, Paul Sibisi. Karen has witnessed Paul commit a murder but he contends it was an accident and wants to prevent her from revealing her version of events to the police. Paul is a prominent political player in contemporary South Africa and his father, Thulani, is a renowned anti-Apartheid activist who has now become disillusioned because of widespread corruption and the abuse of power.

Karen is hiding in the former house of deceased journalist and activist, Seema Sewlal, and she becomes trapped in the house when the ghost of Seema suddenly appears. Thulani and Seema were lovers in the 80s and the old man now feels her spirit calling him to their former domain. Fate eventually throws the four characters together as the country’s past confronts its present in order to re-imagine a more equitable future.

Free-Fall is the fourth playwright/director collaboration between Singh and Lawson with Lawson having previously directed Singh’s seminal works Reoca Light (2017), To House (2017) and Into the Grey (2018). Reoca Light was Singh’s last performed work before the pandemic. The one-man play, which was performed by Rory Booth, was invited to London as part of Tara Arts International Season in August 2019. Singh’s last performed play in South Africa was Into the Grey which was staged at the Playhouse Loft in September 2018. Lawson believes that Free-Fall “is a key component of Singh’s oeuvre” and “like his other works, will stimulate audiences, both intellectually and emotionally.”

The play will also be published by London-based Aurora Metro books immediately after the premiere production. The UK publishing company has also published Singh’s critically acclaimed drama anthologies, Durban Dialogues, Indian Voice (2013) and Durban Dialogues, Then and Now (2017). These books are being studied and/or referenced at a variety of universities in South Africa, Mauritius, India, Canada and Europe.

Tickets for Free-Fall can be purchased via the Playhouse Box Office by calling 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596. Performances commence at 19h30.

For more information contact Ashwin Singh on 076 238 8168 or email: