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WINGS (article first published : 2007-11-4)

Wings, by Arthur Kopit, is a play about stroke and language disorder which will be presented at the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg. In Kopit's own words, it "is a work of speculation informed by fact." The title of the play refers to the early career of the leading character Emily Stilson - she was an airplane wingwalker.

Director Jackie Keevy, who is currently completing the first year of her Master of Arts Degree in Drama and Performance Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, has concentrated on three sections of Kopit's original work, beginning with the moments before Emily's stroke, continuing through the experience of the stroke, and her hospitalisation, suffering from Aphasia and Anomia.

What makes the work engaging for an audience, is Arthur Kopit's extraordinary ability to translate Emily's world into a physical reality through the use of creative theatrical devices.

"The notion of the main character suffering from Aphasia in a medium (theatrical medium) that is all about language and expression is very interesting,” says Jackie Keevy. “Emily becomes a symbol for the world's Aphasia. We, as humans, believe that we are communicating with each other more effectively as we have the technology of e-mail, voice-over internet protocol, sms’s, cellular phones, video-calling and so on – however, what we are doing is separating ourselves from the human factor of face-to-face communication. All our spoken words become text and then that text becomes abbreviated."

Wings runs in the Hexagon Studio Theatre from November 7 to 9 at 19h00. Tickets R20 (R15 students) at the door. The Hexagon is on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg Campus.




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