‘Home Affairs’ is protest theatre of our time, says director Michelle Douglas

Lawrence Joffe and Sello Ramolahloane. Picture: Supplied

Lawrence Joffe and Sello Ramolahloane. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 15, 2023


A new theatre production “Home Affairs” delves deeper into the social ills facing a country in crisis: South Africa.

Written and directed by Michelle Douglas, “Home Affairs” stars legendary theatre and TV actors Sello Ramolahloane and Lawrence Joffe.

“Home Affairs” will be staged at Sandton’s Theatre on the Square from February 21 to March 11.

The play takes a deeper look at the lives of two men facing the crisis of mid-life; “apparently stuck in circumstances and a country” beyond their control.”

In a conversation with IOL Entertainment, Douglas said she hopes the play will stir the much-needed conversation around the current state of the nation, the impact of apartheid, corruption, energy crisis, poverty, unemployment, high cost of living and many other issues that are affecting South Africans today.

“With this production, we’re looking for a platform to voice the struggles of many South Africans,” Douglas said.

“If you think about theatre during apartheid, protest theatre was a big movement. And it was incredible what the theatre achieved and the impact of protest theatre during that period,” Douglas said.

“All those theatre innovators that I looked up to as a child, the likes of Barney Simon and Gibson Kente … they protested against what was happening at the time.

“So, this show is in a way a form of protest theatre against the current circumstances. We are now raising our voices and protesting against what is happening in our country right now.”

Lawrence Joffe and Sello Ramolahloane. Picture: Supplied

Two men. A government department. A crisis. Brought together by the great unifier, load shedding.

Forced to talk about more than the weather and the state of power in the country, two middle-aged men find that they might have more in common than they initially imagined. Or maybe not.

Either way, it all comes down to the light bulb. How many South African men will it take to fix it?

“The show speaks of what it’s like to be a man in this country. We were looking at the context of people, especially males, going through a midlife crisis … How a ‘crisis’ in their personal is affected by the ‘crisis’ going on in the country.

“How do you navigate your personal affairs in a country where things seem to be out of control? How do we create a space for South African voices to be heard?

“So the play explores themes of helplessness and hopelessness. The feeling of being powerless against the system, the feeling of being powerless against the past.”

“Home Affairs” premieres at the Theatre on the Square, Sandton on February 21 and it runs until March 11.

Tickets are available at Computicket for R180.

The cast of ‘Hamlet’. Picture: Alan Eason


Janni Younge’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Where: Baxter Theatre.

When: February 22 to March 11.

The production has returned from a hugely successful run at the “Chicago International Puppet Festival” in January, with standing ovations and rapturous applause from audiences.

The poetry and emotional weight of Shakespeare’s words are echoed in the scale and energy of the puppets.

Commanded by the ghost of his father to avenge his death, Hamlet must grapple with the value of life and what it means to “set things right”.

Caught between love and anger, immediate revenge and ultimate retribution, Hamlet fights to right his world shattered by murder.

The storyline is brought into the contemporary landscape with more accessible language use and the state of Denmark is reflected in South Africa: when there is a dysfunctional royal family, this is reflected in the state of the state.

Bash with Tash. Picture: Facebook


One Aunty Show

Where: iZulu Theatre, Sibaya.

When: February 18.

One of South Africa’s most beloved comedienne Bash with Tash returns to the stage with her latest comedy offering “One Aunty Show” set to take place at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya on February 18.

The show combines hilarious storytelling with rip-roaring crowd interaction, making for an interactive comedy experience not to be missed.

Bash with Tash, real name Natashia Portrag, is a social media content creator and live performance artist who has played for packed houses around South Africa. Her videos have garnered millions of views and she enjoys a considerable social media following.

Gugu Dhlamini as Alice in ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Picture: Supplied


Alice in Wonderland

Where: Pieter Toerien’s Theatre & Studio, Montecasino.

When: February 23 to April 1

The story begins when a young girl named Alice follows a jittery white rabbit from the palace down a dark dingy burrow to a tiny door where she discovers the magical world she’s been longing for.

A world full of swimming mice and dodo races, and Cheshire cats with smiling faces. Although it’s hard to stay the same size, Alice’s curiosity never dies.

She sips tea with the Mad Hatter amid endless nonsense and chatter before she stumbles into the royal flower bed and the Queen of Hearts shouts “off with her head!”

And just when Alice thinks she’s done, the adventure continues and so does the fun!

This 70-minute family show has all the quirky characters and magical moments from the much loved classic, with a few surprises thrown in.