‘Return of the Ancestors’ by Mike van Graan is the next and penultimate play of Artscape’s current Spring Drama Season (SDS). It is set to debut on Thursday, November 6, at the Arena Theatre and will run until November 15.
This hard-hitting satire genuflects to the South African classic ‘Woza Albert’, in which Jesus returns to South Africa during the apartheid era. ‘In Return of the Ancestors’, the Council of Ancestors decides to send a two-person delegation – Steve Biko and Neil Aggett – back to South Africa during its twentieth year of democracy to see if the sacrifices of those who were killed in the struggle against apartheid had been worth it. Biko and Aggett travel through the country, having a variety of encounters with living and inanimate objects along their way to Nkandla, where the major celebration of the benefits of democracy will take place.
Two young actors, Mandisi Sindo and Siya Sikawuti, play several characters in this piece that is directed by Mdu Kweyama, who won acclaim for his direction of a version of Van Graan’s ‘Brothers in Blood’ as a dance-drama piece.
The Artscape Spring Drama Season forms part of Artscape’s New Writing Programme that is devoted to the professional writing and production of new South African plays. The programme receives more than 50 unsolicited scripts per year from playwrights writing in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Once a play has been identified as having promise the playwright works with an editor and director to undertake the re-writing, and the play may then be given a Showcase performance or a Performed Reading. If well received, it is then considered for a Full Production.
The second Showcase following ‘Ancestors’ will be ‘Ndithungile Selani’ by DV Thom, as adapted by Thoko Ntshinga. It will form part of the newly introduced Artscape isiXhosa Classics and will bring the 10th Anniversary Spring Drama Season to a close.
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