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TALKING SPIRITS AND AFRICAN QUEEN (article first published : 2004-10-26)

Talking Spirits and African Queen form an exciting double bill, filling the second slot in The Playhouse Company's New Stages season this month. These shows will be presented in tandem in The Loft, with performances on October 30 at 19h00 and October 31 at 14h30.

Talking Spirits, focusing on the power of Africa's heritage, is a song and dance production that seeks to highlight the achievements of the African continent despite the difficulties that were brought about by its colonial history. The show encourages us to seek out positive aspects of a past that is usually seen in a negative light.

The show is very much Pan African in concept as it illustrates the roots of various African traditions while engaging audience interest with its often humorous treatment of the gripping subject matter and, not least, the firm hold of a director, the multi-talented Zeph Nzama, whose vibrant stage craft has won him wide-spread acclaim.

A man of many parts, Zeph is an actor, dancer, choreographer, script-writer, composer, percussionist and director who has toured the UK, Germany, USA, Hong Kong, Morocco and Zimbabwe. Talking Spirits is his latest brainchild in a succession of productions that include Phathizwe; Man and the Earth; Why; Ancestors Are Talking; Peace, Not Pieces; Love and Care; Our Roots and Lalela.

Observing a kindred spirit of optimism, African Queen, the sister production in this double bill of New Stages, pays tribute to all African women involved in the struggle for justice and freedom in this country. It focuses on celebrated performance icons such as Miriam Makeba, Margaret Singana, Dorothy Masuku, Thandi Klaasin, and others, whose cultural contributions to our heritage have done so much to promote African music.

Directed by Bheki Mbili, the delightful African Queen spreads the spirit of Ubuntu through its high-power programme of music and dance. This ranges in origin from Nchumbane to Sophia Town, featuring Marabi Jive from the 50s and 60s as well as Umbhaqanga to Pansula jive. Set in the widespread context of traditional African lore it is seen as a symbol of peace on the African continent.

Tickets R20 for the double bill of Talking Spirits and African Queen booked through Computicket or Dial-a-Seat on 031 369 9555.




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