Plenty on stage in women’s arts festival

What's On - Durban

THE 18th South African Women’s Arts Festival (Sawaf) began on a high note on Friday with renowned playwright Ashwin Singh’s latest comedy drama, Beyond the Big Bangs.

In true Singh style the play reflects South Africa – this time offering a snapshot of the country today and tastefully, yet provocatively, tackling social issues of post-apartheid South Africa and social integration.

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FESTIVAL FARE: The annual South African Womens Arts Festival is coming to a close this weekend. A highlight to catch before it ends is the drama production Shades. Picture: Val Adamson

Beyond the Big Bangs takes the snapshot – through a series of monologues – of three women’s lives as they reflect on their past and where they are now, in the context of their currently either living or working in Durban North.

Sandra, a coloured domestic helper, has opted for the job in the face of unemployment difficulties. She lives in Wentworth and works in the suburbs. Geeta, an Indian granny, formerly from Tongaat, is now living with her son and daughter-in-law in Durban North.

Lindiwe, a teacher formerly from a school in a local township, has fled the violence in her ex-school to work at a school in the suburbs.

As the three characters relay their personal tales through monologues the audience is taken on a journey of transformation and integration, and social and cultural challenges in a post-apartheid South Africa within their own personal stories – and in the context of their interactions in this vibrant and evolving neighbourhood.

It is a very relatable piece that creatively opens dialogue on aspects of our growing democracy.

Garnering a well-deserved standing ovation, the three young actresses – Shona Johnson, Derosha Moodley and Annalisa Gxabu – perform with excellence and perfect comic timing, without detracting from the gravitas of the issues their characters relay.

The Women’s Arts Festival continues this week with loads more on offer in the theatre space.

One to definitely look out for is a dance production by Mark Hawkins titled From Then ’Till Now. It commemorates two decades of South Africa’s democracy.

It is described as a work that “honours, celebrates and pays respect to the many people and issues that have helped mould South Africa into the country it is today”.

The show, in the Playhouse Drama Theatre, opens at 6pm on August 27. It has another staging at 10am (schools performance) and 7.30pm on August 28.

Also opening this week is Shades, written by Sharman Macdonald and directed by Ralph Lawson.

The drama tells the story of Pearl, a young widow who bitterly resents her husband for dying and leaving her with the prospect of a lonely old age, and her mother who was unable to provide her with the affection she craved as a child.

Shades features Lisa Bobbert (as Pearl) and runs from August 28 to 31.

• For the full Sawaf programme and ticket info see Computicket or call the Playhouse box office at 031 369 9540/031 369 9596 (office hours) or the Sawaf hotline, 031 369 9456.

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