With Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver playing to excellent houses in the Mannie Manim the Market Theatre will close its Athol @86 celebration of Athol Fugard as one of the world’s most respected and frequently studied living contemporary dramatists with a season of Nongogo, a powerful and an informed classic that is a dramatic portrait of black people living in the townships.
Nongogo directed by James Ngcobo is set in a shebeen outside of Johannesburg in the 1950’s vibrant yet turbulent time in the history of the country. The play, one of Fugard earliest works, tells the tale of displaced township individuals who are gripped by a futile longing to belong and be loved.
In every shebeen you’ll find the broken characters of life, the displaced, the hopeless and the loveless trying to find solace.
Nongogo is a powerful and captivating piece rife with unfulfilled hopes and ambitions,friendship and dependence, dark secrets and jealousy.
Even though the characters all carry heavy burdens, the tone throughout the show is light-hearted making it a highly entertaining piece of quality theatre with thought-provoking ideas seeping through rather than imposing to the audience.
Vusi Kunene and Zikhona Sodlaka will star in Nongogo premiering this June. Photo: Brett Rubin
Zikhona Sodlaka will debut at the Market Theatre as Queenie a woman of strength, determination, courage as she dreams of a better life and has a past that’s riddle with dark secrets.
Johnny played by Zenzo Ngqobe is an imaginative businessman who is on the verge of cracking his big entrepreneurial break and he develops a relationship with Queenie.
Making his big theatre comeback is Vusi Kunene playing Sam a tough, business like, jealous and in the end nothing more than the pimp he used to be.
Peter Mashigo also makes his long-awaited return to the Market Theatre as Blackie, the deformed man whose love for Queenie clouds his view of life.
Bongani Gumede alumni of the Market Theatre Laboratory portrays Patrick’s character, a pathetic drunkard whose wife is giving birth to his sixth child and he is so indecisive that the only thing he can do is worry about the name he will give to his new son.
The adroit hand of director James Ngcobo has woven a very textured piece that’s jovial yet deep, as events of the past prevent this collection of characters from achieving any brighter outcome in the future.IOL