Set in a multi-cultural sectional title development, in a typical middle-class Durban suburb, racial divisions and class conflicts continue.
“This is one of playwright, Ashwin Singh’s less light pieces - it deals with the dark side of the country’s problems. The play is a melting pot of cultures which have problems with each other,” said Lawson.
Essentially the production is about the clash of conservative cultures which dominate the Durban socio-political landscape in post-Apartheid South Africa. Characters, Jason and Sanjay have a tentative friendship based on mutual needs and their increasing condemnation of hotshot lawyer, Sibusiso Khumalo, who lives in the same sectional title development.
Jason is increasingly alienated from his community and is battling to deal with the consequences of his recent job loss and pending divorce. Sanjay is in a professional battle with Sibusiso and is struggling with his attraction to Sibusiso’s live-in girlfriend, Kajol, which he cannot express. Meanwhile Sibusiso longs for greater independence but has to deal with the consequences of Kajol’s mother’s ill treatment by her extended family. The arrival, in the second half of the play, of Kajol’s Machiavellian uncle, Deena, serves as the catalyst to expose the truth behind the characters’ courses of action, which ends in a brutal confrontation between Sibusiso and Jason.
Lawson said one of the main themes that flowed throughout the story is racial intolerance followed by relationships and influences of families in different cultures.
“Everything turns into a race issue in this country but people are limited by their own hang-ups and this piece explores this human condition. It’s a very real experience - unlike anything you would feel on TV. The piece is familiar and it goes deeper than a story, situation and characters,” he said.
Lawson said To House would remind the audience that it is very easy to put people in compartments or blame them for your own shortcomings.
“It teaches us to be open-minded. People should abandon their TV because there is no other experience like a theatre experience. And when everyone is in the communal space, the transference of energy is such a real and special thing, and we must not forget that this exists,” he said.
The new staging of To House features a distinguished cast including Michael Gritten, Menzi Mkwane, Rowin Munsamy, Sivani Chinappan, Sandile Mthembu and Ashwin Singh.
* To House runs from October 5 to 7 at The Playhouse Theatre. Tickets are R100, with concessions for pensioners and students. Booking is via Computicket at 08619158000, online at www.computicket.com, or by calling The Playhouse Box Office at 0313699540 or 0313699596.