Thursday, 6 November 2014
The Guy Fawkes fireworks echoing around this northern town faded as I arrived at Live Theatre and to a stage representing South Africa as part of the current Afrovibes season.
The show, called Mamela (“Listen”), shows lives of women born from across Southern Africa at the end of Apartheid or into the so named “Born Free” generation.
Presented as a series of interwoven testimonies from the participants, it has a rawness as they tell their stories around many highly personal aspects of their lives. Based upon edited verbatim transcripts, there is humour and warmth as well as tough and heartbreaking moments creating tears with some audience members.
The overarching tone was still upbeat showing a positive and defiant spirit. The women blended powerful singing and dance with their storytelling, combining to enhance theatricality.
The play was originally developed in 2011 and the intervening years have seen each woman’s story progress further. At the end, the actors described what further had happened to each character. In keeping with their strength, every one of these additions was positive.