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Play puts SA sports stars on off-side

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TO NDR offside2

Robyn Mundy

CRITICAL SUPPORTERS: Cast members Sashin Kandhai, Verne Munsamy, Christiaan du Plessis and Arno Wagenaar warm up for their latest production, The Off-side Rule!

AT a time when the world is following the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, ScruffySession Productions, in association with the Catalina Theatre, is turning the spotlight on all sports stars in The Off-side Rule!

Written by Christiaan du Plessis and directed by Verne Munsamy, the new work represents the views of ordinary spectators, frustrated with the lies and deception. It stars Arno Wagenaar, Sashin Kandhai, Du Plessis and Munsamy.

“Being sports fanatics and having played sport all our lives, we thought it best to write a play about some- thing that interests us. Not just sport, but our love for the comic (satirical) form of theatre. Watching our fallen sports heroes in the media, we found ourselves growing angry at what we were witnessing. Sports stars killing, raping and abusing drugs seems to be a way for our heroes to demonstrate their power over the masses,” explained Munsamy.

The play questions the behaviour of local and international sports stars and heroes of today.

“From an everyday hero to a total zero. The ones who have given us so many great victories are looked at under the microscope. How do we cope with the lies after some unsettling behaviour and media coverage? The play makes use of comedy skits and slam poetry to satirise the politics at play in sport.

“We as spectators see every day by day, every play by play, as these so-called heroes play life in the off-side position – and it’s not fiction; a so-called story made up to our satisfaction. We are done with standing by watching how they take advantage of not only the sport but of us. So we look at the everyday hero that falls to a total zero,” Munsamy said.

“The aim of the play was to show that sport was a big part of South African culture and an influential component in our lives, and we shouldn’t allow our heroes to spoil the image we have constructed of them.

“Just like politics or religion, sport has just as much right to be questioned and challenged by us artists,,” said Munsamy.

“We want to entertain our audiences and, at the same time, educate them on a matter that we feel political towards. We use stories of local sports stars and situations that hopefully capture the minds and laughs of audiences. The play speaks about our big three primarily – rugby, soccer and cricket – but does not exclude athletics and the Olympics. We do not come across as complaining fans, but rather critical supporters,” he added.

This being a comedy, our sports stars have been disguised to adhere to comic standards, but there are clear references to Oscar Pistorius, Caster Semenya, The Beast, Natalie du Toit and many others.

“We look at the way that sport and its politics shape us as men, guide us to become the men we are, or force us to question our masculinity in relation to what is portrayed in the media. We also question its legitimacy if these so-called heroes are then bumped off a pedestal by their own actions,” added Munsamy.

 

• Shows run at the Catalina Theatre from March 13 to 30, at 7pm the first two weeks (Thursday to Sunday) and 9.30pm the last week. No show on March 28. Tickets at R100 through Computicket. For more info call 083 763 6292.

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