Soweto Theatre's ‘Solo’s and Duets’ festival celebrates young creatives. Picture: Supplied
Soweto Theatre's ‘Solo’s and Duets’ festival celebrates young creatives. Picture: Supplied

Soweto Theatre productions explore gender, gay rights & mental health

By Entertainment Reporter Time of article published Oct 21, 2020

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This week, Soweto Theatre is hosting the “Solo’s and Duets Festival", which showcases the artistic work of young and independent producers while delivering thought-provoking performances, at the same time.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, October 22, and runs until Saturday, October 24.

The festival, which features the work of five carefully selected producers with a grand opening night of “Last Cow Standing” on Thursday at 8pm.

“Last Cow Standing” is a fantasy piece that tells the story of a kingdom in turmoil.

A plague is killing its cows and on the advice of his council, the king decides that a mass sacrifice of all the cows that are left should take place, in order to cleanse the kingdom of this curse.

Performed, written and directed by renowned Menzi Mkhwane who holds a Naledi Theatre Award for best newcomer. His performance is one that promises to keep audiences glued to their seats.

“Betewu,” a solo performance that explores the mental dangers and psychological stresses that men go through while being told not to cry when they are hurt, plays on Friday, October 23.

The play speaks to the responsibilities that men carry on a daily basis but they cannot be shared because of societal expectations placed on men.

Also included in Friday's lineup is “Simon”, a biography piece choreographed and performed by Thamsanqa Tshabalala.

This contemporary and physical theatre one-hander aims to educate and celebrate the life of the anti-apartheid, gay rights, and AIDS activist, Simon Tseko Nkoli.

“Scuttling Skin”, a production piece that utilises poetry to add to the story as the audience get an insight into a young man’s deepest thoughts and opinions, plays on Saturday.

It is written and directed by Mthokozisi Zulu and Tshebeletso Mohale.

Another play showcasing on Saturday is “Selfie le Jeso,” written and produced by African Entertainers.

It is about the death of Tshenolo, a teenage boy who is killed through an act of mob justice, leaving his brother Tsogo in distress and severe depression.

Tsogo has been working hard to get his little brother through school and also to save his childhood crush Lucia (25).

The return of Jesus in their township is Tsogo’s only hope to heal.

Commenting on the event, Joburg City Theatres Artistic Director Makhaola Ndebele says: “Audiences can expect exceptional solo performer performances by young contemporary storytellers who are grappling with questions of survival and triumph, in modern-day South Africa.

He adds: “The 'Solo’s and Duets Festival' is relevant to our society in uplifting the young producers, inspiring the youth and fostering dialogue.

“The prevalent themes include experiences such as biographies, family dignity, gender, mental health, the coming of age stories, politics and storytelling amongst others.”

For more information and ticket sales for the “Solo’s and Duets Festival” click here.

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