Posts Tagged ‘Market Theatre Johannesburg’

This co-production with Johannesburg’s Market Theatre covers new ground in examining post-apartheid South Africa. I found Mongiwekhaya’s play both original and fascinating.

Ben and Skinn are stopped by the police on suspicion of drink driving. Ben is a young black university student. He doesn’t speak an African language. He wasn’t even born when apartheid ended. Skinn is a young white South African girl, much more streetwise and edgy. Officer Buthelezi, a former freedom fighter, who has stopped them, has both personal issues and a resentment of aspects of the new South Africa.

Back in the police station, Ben seeks to assert his rights whilst Buthelezi makes it clear what he thinks of young black people behaving like whites, rather violently, whilst his colleagues collude or turn a blind eye. We learn more about his personal issues as the power games unfold inside the police station and Skinn begins a search for Ben outside it, after an initial false trail set by Buthelezi.

We don’t hear much about post-apartheid social impact in the black community, which makes the piece particularly welcome. To its credit, it seeks to explain rather than take sides, though Buthelezi is an unsympathetic character and Ben a sympathetic one, both played passionately by Desmond Dube and Bayo Gbadamosi respectively. I also very much admired  Jordan Baker’s performance as the brittle Skinn. This is actress Noma Dumezweni’s directorial debut and her staging draws you in, in this intimate space.

Good to see an international collaboration like this at the Royal Court. Recommended.

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