A golden mas­ter­piece

CityPress - - Trending - Trend­ing@city­press.co.za

Egoli The Mar­ket theatre’s Laager Theatre, Joburg Tick­ets R90 at com­puticket.com Runs till Jan­uary 31 This is the story of Egoli, The Mar­ket theatre’s first of many so­cially rel­e­vant pieces that cel­e­brate the in­sti­tu­tion’s 40 years of sto­ry­telling.

Hamil­ton Dlamini, Le­bo­hang Mo­taung, Al­fred Motl­hapi, Billy Langa and Mohlatsi Mok­gonyana are the per­fect cast as they im­merse them­selves in their char­ac­ters: black gold min­ers at the mercy of the apartheid regime and swal­lowed up by Jozi.

Phys­i­cal theatre is pushed to the lim­its by the cast, in par­tic­u­lar by one of the char­ac­ters who drowns his sor­rows in so much Chibuku (cheap sorghum beer) that he throws up on stage. This was the first time in my al­most decade-long ca­reer as an arts writer that I saw a mem­ber of the au­di­ence re­act­ing by throw­ing up as well. Yep. The act­ing is that good.

As you sit through the pro­duc­tion, you re­alise that, just like those of apartheid, the ef­fects of mi­grant work­ers leav­ing their fam­i­lies be­hind in home­lands seek­ing em­ploy­ment in the city of gold will never be fully un­der­stood. Mar­ried cou­ples were wrecked by in­fi­delity, chil­dren grew up with­out fa­thers and whole com­mu­ni­ties were de­stroyed, all for the pur­suit of a “bet­ter” life.

While the orig­i­nal play by Matsemela Manaka used a racist and op­pres­sive Joburg as its back­drop, a num­ber of the­atre­go­ers will no­tice a few sim­i­lar­i­ties with mod­ern-day South Africa.

Wit­ness­ing a fel­low hu­man – re­gard­less of colour – be­ing de­graded and his or her hu­man­ity shred­ded to pieces is never a pleas­ant sight, but that is not the most painful part of Egoli. You would have had to be per­ma­nently liv­ing in a mine not to know mine work­ers are still un­der­paid, re­main largely il­lit­er­ate and are con­sid­ered se­cond-grade cit­i­zens who should never sur­face. Apartheid has given way to ruth­less cap­i­tal­ism and in­tol­er­a­ble work­ing con­di­tions are now wors­ened by some­thing called a “ten­der”. Egoli de­picts what is largely still hap­pen­ing in the mines. And that’s a damn shame. This play is funny, painful, shame­ful, em­bar­rass­ing, un­com­fort­able, re­al­is­tic, thought-pro­vok­ing and, most im­por­tantly, rel­e­vant. All

traits of a mas­ter­piece.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.