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LOST IN THE STARS (article first published : 2006-09-23)

The department of drama studies of the Durban University of Technology is to present Lost in the Stars directed by department head Debbie Lutge. With haunting music by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson, the show is based on Alan Patonís famous novel Cry the Beloved Country.

The show features a cast of about 100 third, second and first year students with musical direction by Dana Hadjiev, choreography by Mdu Mtshali and lighting by Tina le Roux.

First mounted at the Courtyard Theatre in 1999, Lost in the Stars, is set in the rural areas of Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal during the apartheid era in 1949. The story deals with the Reverend Stephen Khumalo (Sfiso Mathenjwa) who departs for Johannesburg at the urgings of his wife to find their only son Absolom (Siyabonga Ntombela). The search takes him to many locations, most of them sleazy and each leading him towards the realisation that perhaps his son is not living the kind of life he would wish him to live.

Parallel to this is another story - that of James Jarvis, an intolerant colonialist at odds with the liberal beliefs of his son Arthur who lives in Johannesburg.

The fate of the two fathers is tragically entwined, as Absolom Khumalo will eventually kill Arthur Jarvis. While parole officers argue, relatives threaten and lawyers debate, Stephen Khumalo remains firm to the belief that the ability to tell the truth under extreme pressure should be recognised and not punished. His belief is shattered when his son receives the death penalty.

In Johannesburg, Stephen meets his sonís girlfriend Irina (Nolwase Shange) and his sisterís child Alex (Thobeka Bhengu) who both return to Ndotsheni to live with him and his wife Grace (Nobuhle Khanyile). They fill the void and provide new hope.

ďThe production emphasises the urban rural divide, poverty as a motivation escalating crime statistics, the tragedy of the loss of moral ethics accompanying cultural identity, and the necessity for national solidarity and humanity,Ē says director Debbie Lutge.

Lost in the Stars runs in the Courtyard Theatre, Mansfield Road, from October 2 to 7 at 19h00. Tickets R30 (R15 students and pensioners). Further information from the drama department on 031 204 2194.




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