Shin­ing a light on dys­func­tion

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT / theatre -

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.webtick­ or at any Pick n Pay out­let.

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