Mike Van Graan’s Naledi award-winning play ‘Brothers in Blood’ is coming to the Playhouse Loft this month, opening The Playhouse Company’s New Stages Festival.
An explosive drama about prejudice set within the volatile context of Muslim, Jewish and Christian relations in Cape Town, but at the same time a touching human story of love, ‘Brothers in Blood’ will run for a short season from May 16 to 19.
Winner of the 2009 Naledi Theatre Award for the Best South African Play, Van Graan’s creation explores the universal theme of prejudice. Focusing on religious tension between Jewish, Muslim and Christian characters, it is set in Cape Town in the late 1990s against the backdrop of the activities of People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD).
Much like ‘Crash’, the American movie about race relations and prejudice, ‘Brothers in Blood’ is not about taking sides as much as it is about giving a human face to the “other” who cause us anxiety and fear, challenging us in the process.
Directed by Greg Homann, this highly topical South African play features David Dennis, Kurt Egelhof, Aimee Valentine, Harrison Makubalo and Conrad Kemp. It was produced in 2012 by Artscape, and played the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown and the Witness Hilton Arts Festival last year.
“Almost without exception, when I tell people that ‘Brothers in Blood’ deals with relations between Jews, Muslims and Christians, eyebrows are raised, breath is sucked in and feet are shuffled uneasily,” says Mike van Graan.
“It’s as if the subject is taboo, the-theme-which-cannot-be-mentioned, a topic too dramatic and volatile in real life to be explored in theatre. And yet, precisely for these reasons, we need plays that put into the public domain those issues that cause us anxiety, fear and unease, so that theatre can play its role of provoking debate, challenging personal comfort zones, allowing for individual and collective catharsis.”
The Playhouse Company’s New Stages Festival, which runs from May 16 to 25, will also include a new locally-produced drama, ‘Culture Clash’, as well as revamped, high energy performances of ‘Worlds Apart’.
* Book for these three productions at Computicket.