A brand new South African play Four Fathers: Bananas for the Baboons, which explores black fatherhood and absent fathers in the country, premieres at The Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 3 to 20 August 2022 at 19:30, with Saturday matinees at 14:30.
With this production, emerging young writer Kitso Seti makes his debut as a director. He is a theatre-maker, musician and blogger who holds a master’s in politics from the University of Cape Town (UCT). His research is focused on how black (consciousness) theatre can be used to conscientise people and make sense of black positionality in the world.
“I use my art as a time machine to travel back into the past to where we think the destitution and disarray of Africa stems from,” explained Seti. “The idea is to make sense of the times we live in and our current standing in the world. In a quest to bettering the future, we need to retrace and investigate the steps that led us here. Africa is reeling from a long list of effects of colonialism, and the collapse of the black family is one of them. This production is my submission to the continual search for black voices in the telling of black stories in a way we deem possible.”
The two-hander stars Buhle Qinga and Sivuyile Dunjwa, who play the roles of two young boys in search of their father and their journey of discovery along the way.
Four Fathers: Bananas for the Baboons is one of two plays selected from The Baxter Masambe Playlab, where a cohort of 10 creatives attended a four-month long writing residency, which was held at The Baxter in 2021 and which offered writers time, space, peer-to-peer mentoring and financial resources to create new work. It forms part of The Baxter’s Platform for Special Talent programme which is made possible by the City of Cape Town.
Using different theatrical styles, the play follows two young boys who are on a quest to find their father, and on their journey, they encounter surreal, “out of this world” events. They find themselves inside an exploration of South African history: a present visitation of the past as a contribution to improving the future. Their imagination takes them on a journey through three periods in time: the first 15 years of apartheid, from 1948 to the late 1960s; the 1906 Bambatha Rebellion and the Cattle Killing Movement of 1856, represented by Prophetess Nongqawuse.
The narrators visit these three periods to make sense of the current landscape and to learn from the past. At the core, they discover that men are at the forefront of these battles, begging the question: Where are the fathers? And how has colonialism, with its offspring of apartheid and migrant labour, contributed to the absence of black fathers?
Performed in English, isiXhosa and isiZulu with English surtitles, Four Fathers: Bananas for the Baboons runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 3 to 20 August 2022. Tickets are R120 and booking is through Webtickets or at Pick n Pay stores.
For discounted block or school bookings, charities or fundraisers, email Carmen Kearns or call 021 680 3993.
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