Cycles of social destruction

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IOL may 22 to next sunday 1 . Khethiwe Dlamini, front, Bongiwe Silinda and Tshepiso Mabaso.

Next Sunday

Conceived by Godfrey Thobejane

Director: Khethiwe Dlamini

Co-director: Godfrey Thobejane

Cast: Khethiwe Dlamini, Shirley Mtombeni, Tshepiso Manhique, Sizile Khumalo, Sphumuzo Sidzumo, Katlego Makatu, Lesego Chabedi, Tshepiso Mokoena, Mbalenhle Magubane, Brian Maloka, Ditebogo Kgotseng, Tshepiso Mabaso and Tsholofelo Ngobeni

Venue : Market Theatre, Barney Simon Theatre

Until: May 27

Rating: ***

THE Market Theatre Lab’s Zwakala Festival offers a chance for those who are still developing their craft to get their voice in and create conversations in theatre.

This year’s the festival was won by a Pretoria-based group and their production, Next Sunday, highlights some of the social plights in today’s townships.

Previous shows have provided opportunities to gauge different and innovative theatre styles that the community groups experi-ment with. And some of those have been groundbreaking. Some of the stories brought forth have been eye-opening with the ability to broaden horizons.

Next Sunday’s strength lies in the story it tells, and not in the style of theatre it uses.

We know about sins of the father, but the narrative here shows the sins of the mother and zooms in on a cycle of destruction that can ruin a family.

It looks at a prostitute mother whose daughter, Matlakala, was born in a shebeen, and followed in her footsteps.

Matlakala gives birth to a daughter, Zazi, and tries hard to protect her from the destructive life she inherited, but her efforts fail.

What’s interesting is that these stories that come from community groups are often not far-fetched, and this is an emotive piece.

The way in which the story is told, however, does not fully magnify that. While the music sung by the chorus is powerful and adds to the emotion of the play, the actors don’t do enough to extract an emotional response from the audience. The story is told too simply and, as a result, loses its impact.

A story that is as powerful as this one needs the actual emotion to fill it up like in Lara Foot’s heart-wrenching Tshepang. A previous Zwakala winner, Madi, also dealing with child rape, is a perfect example.

And when you’re working with close to no props, something needs to make up for that and that is usually the style of the play or its storytelling.

Next Sunday tells a poignant story, but the storytelling needs to be a little more creative.

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