Indalo Bennet, Sizwesandile Mnisi, Marty Kintu, Zoleka Helesi and Apollo Ntshoko in Wine in the Wilderness. Photo: Ruth Smith
Cape Town – Rising star, theatre-maker and director Nwabisa Plaatjie brings to life two beautiful plays by American playwright Alice Childress as part of the Baxter Theatre’s Women’s Month celebrations.

At the Golden Arrow Studio from August 28 to September 13, the compelling double bill of Florence and Wine in the Wilderness marks the South African premiere of both pieces, carefully chosen to pay tribute to black women who should not be defined by a single limited image or narrative.

The cast of six is made up of Zoleka Helesi (Karoo Moose, Mies Julie), Daneel van der Walt (Rocky Horror Show, Taming of the Shrew), Apollo Ntshoko (Samson, John Kani’s Missing), Marty Kintu (When Swallows Cry, The Looming Tower), Indalo Bennet (Faint Paint of Light, Rock to the Core) and Sizwesandile Mnisi (The Fall, Aunty Merle: The Musical).

Alice Childress was an American novelist, playwright and actress, widely acknowledged as the only African-American woman to have written, produced and published plays for four decades and the first to win an Obie Award.

She was a beacon of hope, known for opening doors for many black playwrights, actors and producers such as Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry. She also became actively involved in social justice causes and formed an off-Broadway union for actors.

Written in 1950, Florence takes place in a train station waiting room in a small town in America's south.

The play describes how Miss Whitney (Zoleka Helesi), a black mother in her late fifties, engages in conversation with a white woman, Mrs Carter (played by Daneel van der Walt). 

Through their exchange, Miss Whitney realises that her daughter (Florence) - a struggling young actress - may not be able to pursue her dream in a racist and fickle world.

Wine in the Wilderness explores the experience of being a black woman and how black characters struggle to get past classicism, poverty and gender politics. 

An artist (Sizwesandile Mnisi) is working on a triptych titled Wine in the Wilderness, a series of three paintings meant to express his statement about black womanhood. But what precisely is black womanhood and who decides on that definition? That’s the question the play asks.

Set and lighting design for the production are by Patrick Curtis and costumes by Marisa Steenkamp.

The double bill of Florence and Wine in the Wilderness runs from August 28 from 7.30pm and booking is open at Webtickets, at www.webtickets.co.za or at any Pick n Pay store.

For discounted corporate, schools or block bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or email [email protected]