Reoca Light is a play that celebrates the indomitability of the human spirit and pays tribute to unsung heroes in contemporary South Africa as well as those from our recent and distant past.
The show set to stage at the Playhouse next month stars, Rory Booth as the single lead character, Sunil Mohan.
We sat down with award-winning playwright Ashwin Singh, to tell us more about his production.
Tell us about the production
A tale about unsung heroes in the community – little people, flawed people but people who did extraordinary things. The Mohan family and their neighbours are the particular focus of the work as we are exposed to the untold stories of the Reoca district as narrated by the lead character Sunil Mohan.
Mohan’s convenience store and the Wendy hut behind the store are the physical spaces in which these events occurred. The play also explores the concept of Home.
What inspired such a production?
All my plays are about the socio-political evolution of life in small towns in the post-Apartheid landscape. They focus particularly on the psychological, emotional and spiritual meaning of physical spaces in the lives of repressed or alienated characters. Reoca Light is another addition to this body of work, although this time the work is a monodrama. I am particularly interested in these alternative narratives because we need to re-write South African history. Hence, my anthology of plays Durban Dialogues, Indian Voice was published in 2013 and Reoca Light features in that book.
What themes do you explore in the production?
The legacy of Indian South Africans in the socio-economic sphere and in traditional community life; self-sacrifice and family loyalty; the pursuit of dreams in harsh socio-political circumstances; the prejudicial belief systems still prevalent among certain individuals within the Indian South African community and An examination of the meaning of Home.
What can audiences take away from the production?
I don’t deliberately try to put lessons into my plays but I believe that any substantial work of art explores truths with which people may find an emotional connection, and therefore this may facilitate a process of growth. In this production, we are encouraged to re-evaluate the dominant narratives and to reconnect with our communities’ unsung heroes.
How was it working with Rory Booth, do you believe he was able to portray what you had in mind on set?
Working with Rory was a pleasure and a privilege. We’ve worked together before on stage, but this being his first one-man play, it was a complex challenge. But he was up for it. He completely committed to the process and inhabited the various characters which he portrays. He is a multi-skilled, intelligent and passionate performer.
What can audiences look forward to?
They can look forward to an eclectic and dynamic production with elements of drama, comedy, physical theatre and innovative design. Rory Booth inhabits an array of complex characters with such aplomb that I expect that audiences will be blown away. Ralph Lawson has added subtle directorial touches which gives the production wonderful nuance.
* Reoca Light runs in The Playhouse loft from April 5 to 8 at 7.30pm. Tickets are R 100 (with concessions for students and pensioners) and can be booked at Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at www.computicket.com. Alternatively, call the Playhouse Box Office on 031-369 9540 or 031369 9596.