At this stage: Plays from Post Apartheid South Africa By Gregg Homann
Wits University Press, 17 October 2009
Soft cover, 268 pages.
As South Africa continues to advance towards the fulfilment of its visionary constitution, significant shifts in the mode, style, and theme of its nation's theatre have begun to take hold. The four plays in this collection, by Lara Foot Newton, Mike van Graan, Motshabi Tyelele and Craig Higginson, offer insights into an emerging national identity. The primary themes explored in the four texts - reconciliation, matriarchy, justice, accountability, corruption, truth, memory, and violence - reflect on the challenges and questions South Africans are confronted with in their nascent democratic state. In the two essays that complement this anthology, theatre director Greg Homann argues that South African theatre and her playwrights have surfaced into a new period, one that signals new themes and challenges. The mode of representation has shifted and the monological form we came to both loathe and love has dissipated to match a democratic society grappling with multiple points of view. ""Reach"" (Lara Foot Newton) is a story of trying to connect. Two South Africans from different generations reach out across conflicting experiences and racial lines in an attempt to reconcile their shared past. ""Some Mother's Sons"" (Mike van Graan) questions the success and failure of the South African criminal and justice system. Vusi and Braam, two lawyers and friends, negotiate their experiences of apartheid violence and post-apartheid criminality. ""Shwele Bawo!!"" (Motshabi Tyelele) is a one-woman play detailing how wife and mother, Dikeledi Nkabinde, has found herself locked up for the murder of her Black Economic Empowered husband. ""Dream of the Dog"" (Craig Higginson) is set on the eve of Richard and Patricia Wiley's departure from their KwaZulu-Natal farm. A series of interactions that challenge notions of truth, revenge, memory, and justice unfold when a familiar visitor arrives.