Fresh from a resoundingly successful run at Grahamstown, State Fracture is also enjoying a short run at the Theatre on the Square. Written by Mike van Graan, the satirical comedy is directed by Rob van Vuuren and produced by Siv Ngesi.
We tried to get Van Graan and actor Daniel Mpilo Richards to offer more insight into the production, which critics are raving about.
Mpilo Richards, who won a Naledi award for best breakthrough artist/ newcomer for Pay Back the Curry, is at the helm of this one-hander. “I play multiple characters – 23 to be exact,” he said.
And, apparently, that was all he was willing to say.
When asked about the demands placed on him as an actor, Mpilo Richards said: “State Fracture is very demanding. It is far more physically demanding than Pay Back The Curry. I move more, dance and sing, and really work up a sweat.”
And he is also a fan of Van Graan’s writing.
“Mike’s writing is truly exceptional – world-class. His writing speaks for itself.
"What is truly special for me is knowing that Pay Back The Curry and State Fracture were written for me. Mike’s writing is incredibly meaty and it is an actor’s dream to perform.”
Any attempts to find out more about the production and what audiences will enjoy about it proved futile.
As such, I’m relying on Cue Media’s quote: “The sequel to Pay Back the Curry, (State Fracture) is a hard-hitting and incredibly well-performed satirical comedy, sparing nobody from Zupta to Zille. You’ll be glued to the edge of your seat. There’s so much talent here – superb acting and a phenomenal script make it fully deserving of its standing ovation.”
Reflecting on the set and costumes, Mpilo Richards said: “As with Pay Back The Curry, the only thing on stage is a black box, a guitar and a guitar stand. I wear a simple costume of a black top and black pants. To entice the readers, I suppose I should say a ‘tight’ black top. The rest is left up to the imagination. (We're) keeping it simple as this allows the audience to listen to every word without distraction, use their imagination and focus on the performance of the words.”
On Van Vuuren directing the flow, he added: “Well, Rob is an ‘actor’s director’. Because Rob is a performer himself, he really understands the mind of the actor – or, at least, my mind. We work so effortlessly together. He knows when to push me (especially physically).
“He demands a lot from me and expects only the best. He can find comedy in anything, which makes working with him that much more special. I get to witness comedy genius up close. But he also has the most profound way of drawing the truth out of the character I am portraying.
"I love working with Rob. Dynamite comes in small packages.”
* State Fracture offers the perfect excuse to laugh our political frustrations away. The play runs until July 29.