Tackling manhood myth, idolising sports star

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TO NDR Offside review 1 Lauren Jones ON THE BALL: The Off-Side Rule cast, from left are Arno Wagenaar, Verne Munsamy, Christiaan du Plessis and Sashin Kandhai.

THE OFF-SIDE RULE

DIRECTOR: Verne Munsamy

CAST: Arno Wagenaar, Sashin Kandhai, Christiaan du Plessis and Verne Munsamy

VENUE: The Catalina Theatre

UNTIL: March 30

RATING: ***

CHRISTIAAN du Plessis’s The Off-side Rule is a hopeful example of the kind of fresh thinking we can get from young upcoming theatre practitioners.

Using a blend of slam poetry, comedy and physical theatre, the young playwright tackles issues of manhood in his first work.

Set against the back drop of sports and sports stars, the audience is taken on a provocative journey through the world of sports, dissecting everything from what it means to be a man, to exposing the “real” sports stars behind their flashy medals, and question society’s role in moulding these stars.

Du Plessis opts to affect the audience with sets of slam poetry, which then lead to a short comedy skit based on what the respective bit of slam address.

There are slam poems that address the sports stars who we the fans create, placing them on pedestals, making them “more than they ever could be”, but also reflecting on who they really are behind the scenes.

Some address the high salaries sports stars earn, while others touch on issues like the pressures society places on young men in achieving its idealised notion of manhood.

Balancing the seriousness in the poetry segments are short comedy skits.

Some skits tackle issues like match fixing in sport, sports stars who are “roiding up” and as a result are aggressive abusers in their homes, and my favourite was a skit about a low-budget TV sports show, Balls and All, with funny presenters who had the audience rolling with laughter.

There are also some satirical references to existing sports stars, but these are done tastefully. I was particularly impressed with the way the Oscar Pistorius segment was managed with the focus being on the court room shenanigans of the trial.

Du Plessis should be proud of a script well thought out script and planned. Director Verne Munsamy has done a great job in executing it on stage.

The entire cast – Arno Wagenaar, Sashin Kandhai, Christiaan du Plessis and Verne Munsamy – deserve kudos for their performance.

A minimal set ensures quick and clever costume and set transformations, with the lighting design also assisting to change the atmosphere. A must see.

• Shows run at the Catalina Theatre until March 30, 9.30pm (Thursday-Friday); and Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, no show on the 28th. Tickets at R100 through Computicket. For more info call 083 763 6292.

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