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

KOMENG (article first published : 2000-07-4)

Written and directed by Sello Maake ka Ncube and presented by the Market Theatre, Komeg puts forward a different aspect to the issue of the abuse of women - from the side of the male.

In this thought-provoking piece, Alistair Dube, Menzi “Gubs” Ngubane, David Mohloki and Kholofelo Kota play a bunch of childhood buddies who meet up again in adulthood - and along the way get to do a pretty neat jazz song and dance number. The controlling personality appears to be David Mohloki (Bra Themba ) whose calm tones regularly interrupt the interaction between his friends with requests to refrain from bad language, use of drugs or alcohol and reacts to disdain remarks such as a call to a good-looking girl: “Wherever the future is taking you, it must go via my Sealy Posturepedic”!

The setting is simple with two of those carved chairs which are made from two pieces and look extremely unstable. In fact, this is the first time I have ever seen anyone sitting in them! There are also small carved drums, skins on the floor and a massive drum centre stage. I assume this is to place traditional behaviour towards women in a historical and tribal sense but four cellphones - each with different rings from each character - brings the action right up to the present.

Apart from Bra Themba, about whom we are to discover disturbing information later, the other three boast about their various nefarious ways of life as well as their female conquests: "Love at first sex" or "Six first and love after". Also much bragged about is the way they "handle" their women, whether they be wives, girlfriends or one-night stops. Suddenly things go sour and the camaraderie turns to accusations and enmity.

Things come to a head and a potential disaster is averted but not before all have decided to take a good long look at themselves and their behaviour towards women. This is the part of the play that needs reworking. The change happens a little too easily. If attitudes could be altered so easily in real life, the issues that prompt plays such as this would not be as serious as they are.




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