Challenging the notion of prisons serving their purpose of being correctional facilities to the state or rather becoming gangster havens for more crimes, ‘The Antidote’, a play directed by Simemezelo Xulu and showing until February 21 at the Joburg Theatre, is set in a high security prison in South Africa. The piece is attempting to ignite a controversial debate while exploring the high amount of crime in and outside of South African prisons.
‘The Antidote’ follows the concealed testing of an experimental drug on convicts to reduce aggression, which backfires as prisoners start losing their minds. The system coupled by the side effects reduces prisoners to the level of animals through graphic descriptions, portrayals of violence and rape.
Adding a melodious dimension to the play, the ensemble cast performs haunting songs that are mournful and angry. The cast consists of DNA & Joburg Theatre’s Youth development class of 2015.
The production showcased at the National Arts Festival in 2014.