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SIS’STRATA IN DA HOOD (article first published : 2006-07-23)

The Department of Drama Studies at The Durban University of Technology presents Sis’strata In Da Hood in the Courtyard Theatre. The show is adapted from Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy, Lysistrata, and is directed by Robin Singh. As the show is about women power, it opens on Women’s Day (August 9).

They play deals with a group of women who are fed up with their men’s continual absence, devotion to their comrades and neglect of their spouses and girlfriends. So, they take matters into their own hands. Led by Sis’Strata they decide, with some reluctance, to take an oath to withhold sexual favours until men make peace.

Sis’Strata has been set in a street in a township where gang wars in “da hood” provide the background to the action. The dialogue is colloquial and moves away from the poetry of Aristophanes’ play. The warring gangs now become the Americans and the Brazilians. Choreography by Mdu Mtshali is to the music of Nelly, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, M People, and Janet Jackson. Lighting design is by Tina Mellor.

“When one mentions Greek plays, one can’t help thinking about tragic heroes, poetic dialogue with interminably long and often boring speeches, and with characters who are victims of fate and the gods, and who have to face the dire consequences of their actions,” says director Robin Singh. “Aristophanes’ plays, however, are different – down to earth comedies that deal with real and relevant situations – and this is what we have attempted to do with our production.”

The men’s frustrations and constant attempts to get at their women lead to some hilarious situations. The play is risqué and sometimes crudely funny.

Bra Zooka (“The Banker”) is the money man responsible for funding the gangs; Spokwane (Spooky) is so desperate that he is willing to have sex with his wife out on the street. She (Sis’Mirri) responds by teasing and leading him on and then leaving him unfulfilled and highly frustrated. Faced with such stoicism on the part of the women, and frustrated to the point of desperation, the men finally capitulate.

The cast is made up of first year Drama Studies students and includes some from the second and third year groups. The roles of the major characters are shared. Sis’Strata will be played by Portia Buwa/Samantha Moore, Sis’Cally by Nombulelo Khumalo/Marcia Mzindle, and Bra Zooka by Andile Mdletshe/Mandla Biyela.

Sis’strata In Da Hood runs at the Courtyard Theatre in Mansfield Road from August 9 to 12 at 19h00. Tickets R30 (R15 for students and pensioners). Bookings and further information from the DUT Drama Department on 031 204 2194.

Parental guidance is advised as some of the action and language may not be suitable for young audiences.




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