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IN THE CONTINUUM (article first published : 2007-07-30)

Acclaimed by The New York Times as “moving, smart, spirited and powerfully funny”, In the Continuum promises audiences a memorable theatre experience at this year’s South African Women’s Arts Festival at The Playhouse.

Written and performed by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter, the play interweaves the tales of two women, one in Harare, and the other in South Central Los Angeles, who over the course of a weekend must deal with the facts they are pregnant and HIV positive. The two playwright-actors perform dozens of roles, enveloping the audience in their story of parallel denials and self-discoveries, as they dramatize the devastating problem of AIDS among African and African-American women.

For Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter, writing about places they both know first-hand, the ground-breaking production began as a graduate school project at New York University's Tisch School for the Arts. It quickly blossomed into a full-blown post-graduate career, one that has combined their dual passions for theatre and social activism.

"Living in Zimbabwe throughout the 1990s, I witnessed the onslaught of AIDS/HIV, and it was almost impossible not to know people who were infected, including some of my own cousins, uncles and friends,” said Danai Gurira in an interview in The Chicago Sun Times.

"My other passion is the rights of women. They have suffered a very high rate of infection in Africa and I wanted them to be more than statistics. I wanted people to understand how terrible it is to be a daughter-in-law there and bring this news to the family. I wanted people to know what it means to be kicked out of your family because of it. And I wanted people to know how groundbreaking it was for women in Africa to begin to fight for their rights, but that is what they did even when some of their leaders failed to act."

For Nikkole Salter, too, creating the play gave her the opportunity to combine her love of performance and political activism. “I discovered the emotional impact language could have, and how it was possible to seamlessly merge issues with the pure magic of theatre", she said.

In the Continuum became an off-Broadway hit when it opened in New York in 2005, prior to its playing triumphantly across the United States. On the African continent it has toured Harare and Johannesburg, Cape Town and will tour the National Arts Festival before coming to Durban.

Presented by the Playhouse Company courtesy of the United States Consulate in Durban, In the Continuum can be seen in Playhouse Drama Theatre on August 3 at 11h00 and 19h30; August 4 at 19h30 and August 5 at 15h00.

Tickets R45 (R30 Sunday matinee). Booking is through Computicket or the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540/9596. For further information contact the Playhouse Marketing Department on 031 369 9456 or e-mail marketing@playhousecompany.com




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