A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

drama
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

WORKSHOP NEGATIVE (article first published : 2006-08-7)

Workshop Negative by Cont Mhlanga is generally considered to be one of Zimbabwe’s important post-independence plays. The controversy around the original production in 1986 when the Zimbabwe government would not grant permission for the play to travel outside the country spurred on a national debate about the role of theatre in the new Zimbabwe.

Subsequently, the play has been performed to critical acclaim in Europe, the United States, and as part of a BBC World Service drama series. This production celebrates the play’s twentieth anniversary and this will be its South African premier.

The play deals with the contradictions around power, class and race that emerged in Zimbabwe after independence. It was written within the context of the country’s struggle for political unity and economic stability, a period in which - despite a policy of reconciliation - the ruling party embarked on a process of ethnic cleansing in the Matabeleland and Midland provinces.

Jane Plastow writing in African Theatre: Southern Africa offers this synopsis of the play: Workshop Negative looks at the situation of two workers, the black Zulu boy and the white Ray Graham, both of whom are employed in the workshop of an apparently socialist MP. Initially the men view each other as the enemy, since they fought on opposite sides in the liberation struggle. But we rapidly come to see that it is the hypocritical exploitative MP, mouthing socialism while practicing the most oppressive capitalism, who is the real enemy in independent Zimbabwe.

Popular performance and theatre were used to mobilise people during the Zimbabwean liberation struggle. After independence, a strong community theatre movement emerged in the country.

Cont Mhlanga is one of Zimbabwe’s most renowned playwrights and the artistic director of Amakhosi Production based in the township of Makakoba in Bulawayo. Along with his reputation as a playwright, he has produced a substantial body of work for film, television, and in the area of theatre for development. Mhlanga’s theatre is renowned for its high energy kung fu action sequences, songs and dances as well as its biting political and social satire.

Workshop Negative will have one performance on August 10 at 18h00 at the Hexagon Theatre on the campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Tickets R10 at the door. More information on 033 260 5537 or visit www.hexagon.ukzn.ac.za




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart