The So So1o festival of one-person plays is back and promises a line-up of thought provoking theatre starting, September 11 and running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, for one month at WITS.
After a successful debut in 2014, this festival of one-person plays is kicking off its second year with 16 diverse theatre pieces by 16 renowned performers, writers and directors. “We have an incredibly rich theatrical tradition in South Africa, yet artists struggle to make a living. Theatrical platforms such as So Solo allow us all to participate in understanding and celebrating our own stories,” says Festival Director Gita Pather.
“So So1o 2015 features an array of stories and diverse genius, younger and older performers, new as well as tried and tested talent. In that mix and diversity, I have no doubt that audiences will be as in awe as I am of the incredible creativity this lineup presents,” adds Pather.
The So So1o commissioned play this year is titled ‘Penny’ and aptly depicts the life of a 20-something honours graduate who struggles to find work as a TV and theatre performer. The piece is written and directed by MoMo Matsunyane and performed by Zethu Dlomo, both Wits graduates themselves. “In this play it really is a slice of life imitating art,” says Pather.
The festival offers an eclectic selection of plays, from comedy to drama, so audiences will be spoilt for choice with something for just about everyone.
Some of the other theatrical offerings include:
• ‘Kafka’s Ape’, a Silver Ovation Award winner at the National Arts Festival 2015 was adapted by Phala O. Phala and is based on Franz Kafka’s ‘A Report to An Academy’. Using physical theatre to tell the story of the central character, Tony Miyambo gives a performance of an ape to human transformation, provoking questions about what it means to be a human being.
• For some laughter, there is ‘Johnny Boskak Is Feeling Funny’, which won the highest accolade at the National Arts Festival, taking the Golden Ovation Award for the best production of the fringe. Written by Greig Coetzee, Craig Morris performs in this one-hander, a spin-off of Coetzee’s successful ‘White Men with Weapons’. The play tells the story of a “white oke” living in the new South Africa, looking for love, redemption, an AK47 and the quickest way out of Secunda. The play features original music by the late Syd Kitchen.
• In ‘Morwa: The Rising Sun’, Tefo Paya portrays a young Motswana man on his journey into manhood. Paya also wrote the play and it is based on his personal experiences as he comes to grips with the challenges faced by young men in Africa. ‘Morwa’ is directed by Warren Nebe.
• ‘Kullid’ is an adaption of three historical South African Coloured texts: ‘Suip!’ by Oscar Petersen and Heinrich Reisenhofer, ‘A Coloured Place’ by Lueen Conning (Malika Ndlovu) and ‘What the Water Gave Me’ by Rehane Abrahams. Directed by Leonie Ogle and performed by Kelly Eksteen, this one-woman play sheds light on marginalized Coloured communities.
• ‘Jokes 4 Sale’ humorously chronicles the lives of black people as seen through the eyes of the play’s creator, writer and performer Phillip M Dikotla. He is inspired by some of the comedic absurdities found in black culture.
• The dark comedy ‘Nine to Fivers Anthem’ is directed by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and written and performed by Lotanang Makoti. The play provides a cynical look at the office worker’s nine-to-five existence – everything from debt and long working hours to the loss of dreams and identity.
• ‘To Stand Somewhere’ is both funny and thought provoking. Directed by Moses D. Rasekele and written and performed by Ter Hollmann, the play takes audiences on a humorous journey through the last days of Apartheid into the muddled mess of the Rainbow Nation.
• ‘Sunday Morning’ is a stylish thriller about a successful photographer who’s ordered life falls apart when his girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant and he makes a gruesome discovery that changes everything. The play is written by Nick Warren, directed by Jenine Collocott and performed by award-winning actor James Cuningham.
• Director Paul Noko’s play ‘Fruit’ was the 2016 Zabalaza Festival winner and has just finished a much lauded run at the Baxter in Cape Town. A tale about the loss of innocence, Matshediso Mokoteli plays the young girl Matlakala who lives in Diepkloof, a township ravaged by crime and poverty.
* The So So1o plays will be performed in the WITS theatre venues from Friday, September 11, until October 11.
Book online at www.webtickets.co.za, or purchase your tickets from the box office. The ticket prices range from R70 to R85.