Gang leader’s time out in dystopian futureComment on this story
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
DIRECTOR: Marcia Peschke
CAST: a cast of 22
VENUE: Indian Cane Growers Hall (ML Sultan Campus, DUT)
THE Durban University of Technology Drama and Production Studies opened their staging of A Clockwork Orange at the weekend.
A stage adaptation of Sir Anthony Burgess’ novella by the same name, the production looks at youth violence and dissects thoughts on choice and freedom.
Set in a dystopian future, the audience is first introduced to Alex (Sipho Zwake) and his gang (Kagisho Tsimakwane as Pete, Lungani Mabaso as Georgie and Gabriel Miya as Dim). Although they live under authoritarian rule, they are a law unto them-selves with no regard for anybody.
An elder in the community almost prophetically warns the boys one day that their raping, robbing and destroying will lead to them killing someone.
It’s not long after this when, during a robbery, a woman is killed by accident. Abandoned to face the law on his own, Alex is jailed. It’s during this journey of his that the play deals with questions of good versus evil.
Can a man choose between good or evil without being conditioned to so? Is there such a thing as goodness or is this relative to whose version of good are we looking at? Is there really such a thing as pure intention or is it merely a matter of self gain?
As Alex journeys to his self- discovery, what unfolds along the way is very thought provoking. Initially one can’t help but feel hopelessness as you watch these violent youth wreak havoc with everyone around them. But as Alex makes his two-year journey out of the institution your opinion will change.
In her director’s note, Marcia Peschke said Burgess’ “cautionary tale” was inspired by the rise of a youth culture in England that appeared to revel in popular music, violence and gang culture.
I couldn’t help but think how relevant it is today, especially in South Africa where we see a rise in youth who are fed up with poverty, unemployment and corruption.
Peschke, her cast and crew deserve kudos for what they’ve done with this production. Set design (Peschke and Wesleigh Thomas Hall) is minimalist and inspired by street artist and social commentator Banksy, and very well suited to the play. I suppose in hind sight it can now be seen as a blessing in disguise that the newly revamped Courtyard Theatre at Durban University of Technology was not finished in time for this play. Having it at the Indian Cane Growers Hall – which itself needs some fixing – seemed to fit the setting more.
That said, the acoustics are not the best and at times some of the voices were drowned out.
There are cast members who deserve special mention. Zakwe (Alex), Miya (Dim, the Chaplain), Farrel Drew (Alexander) and Simemezelo Xulu (Mr Deltoid, Minister of the Interior). That said, the entire cast did a splendid job in pulling off this show, including some physical theatre performances, particularly in portraying violent scenes.
This production is quite provocative. It’s worth a visit to experience something new and to also see how well our up-and-coming actors in Durban are doing.
• A Clockwork Orange ends Friday at 7pm. Tickets: R35. To book call 031 373 2194 or 031 373 2532. No under-16s.