Shining a light on dysfunction
ACCLAIMED writer and director Lara Foot’s award-winning play, The Inconvenience of Wings, brings bipolar disorder and friendships into the spotlight.
Following its sold-out success at the National Arts Festival and the Baxter Theatre Centre last year, Foot’s award-winning play makes its Johannesburg premiere, staging at the Market Theatre until July 16, from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Earlier this year the play received the coveted Fleur du Cap awards for Best Director (Foot), Best Actor (Andrew Buckland) and Best Actress (Jennifer Steyn).
Foot, the 2016 National Arts Festival Featured Artist and a former Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre winner, has assembled a stellar cast and creative team comprising Steyn, Buckland and Mncedisi Shabangu.
Set in a landscape of memory and dreams, The Inconvenience of Wings, tackles the issues of friendship, dys function, addiction and angels. Sara (Steyn) has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; she is compulsive, alive and hates women who know how to make cupcakes.
Paul (Buckland), her husband, is on a mission to find a cure for her afflictions and Professor James (Shabangu) quietly tries to save Paul from the inconvenience of his wings.
The play is, at its heart, a love story, which make for compelling viewing with burning contemporary themes such as bipolar disorder and compulsion and its devastating effect on the family. It cuts close to the bone for anyone who has suffered mental illness themselves, or has lived with someone who is afflicted.
This powerful and poignant new drama was inspired by author Abraham J Twerski’s book, Addictive Thinking, that examines the notion of compulsion, addiction, denial and abuse of self as well as conversations on bipolar disorder that Foot had with celebrated psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann. It was further stirred by her father who has suffered from dementia for more than a decade.
This production also celebrates Foot’s history of collaborating with Buckland (Betrayal, The Well Being and Scrooge) and Shabangu (Tshepang and Fishers of Hope). It marks her first time working with Steyn, who was the 2014 Fleur du Cap award winner for The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore and who was recently seen at the Baxter in A Doll’s House. Andrew Buckland was seen most recently in Tobacco, And the Harmful Effects Thereof and Mncedisi Shabangu in Sizwe Banzi is Dead.
Foot once again teams up with the award-winning set designer Patrick Curtis and lighting designer Mannie Manim, with whom she shared success for Solomon and Marion. Composition and sound design is by Philip Miller, choreography is by Grant van Ster.
Foot is the CEO and artistic director of the Baxter Theatre Centre and a former Rolex protégé to Sir Peter Hall in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She has become known and respected for her own hard-hitting plays, which sensitively and creatively tackle social issues in South Africa and for which she has won several awards. – Entertainment Reporter runs at the Mannie Manim at the Market Theatre until Sunday, July 16 with evening performances at 8.15pm and matinee performances at 3pm. There is an age restriction of 16 (nudity and language). Booking is through Webtickets, online at www.webtickets.co.za or at any Pick n Pay outlet.