Wits Theatre has collaborated in The Market Theatre for a play called Vumani Oedipus, opening in October.
Vumani Oedipus, a play by Wits School of Arts (WSOA), will be showing at The Market Theatre in October.
The collaboration “came about by default, it wasn’t planned” said director and WSOA lecturer Dr Samuel Ravengai. Due to a number of productions running simultaneously, there was a shortage of performers so Ravengai had the idea to approach The Market Laboratory Drama School, the training branch of The Market Theatre. “Three [The Market Laboratory students] got places, one of them has fallen out so I’m using two and the rest are from Wits Theatre”.
Vumani Oedipus is an “an Africanisation of the classic murder mystery”, the ancient Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex or Oedipus The King, according to the WSOA website. “The play is classified as a Greek play but if you look at the history of performance, the so-called Greek civilisation and it’s so called Greek plays are actually an off-shoot of African performances” said Ravengai.
Ravengai explained that his motivation for doing this play was to ground the work in an African context, saying that he was, “appropriating what was stolen or taken or appropriated from Africa and replanting it back into the African stories”.
Ravengai hopes the play will show “the possibility that South African theatre has, which is a celebration of our collective identities”. He added that, “It is possible to create a uniquely South African theatre that celebrates everybody in this kind of performance, which I think has not been done in many years at Wits and at The Market Theatre”.
The play strives to develop a new theatre culture that encourages transformation by incorporating a number of languages and traditions.
“For the first time at Wits and the first time at The Market Theatre we are going to do a play where English occupies about 60 to 65 percent of the linguistic content of the play and the rest of it will be Nguni languages, which is Zulu, Seswati, isiXhosa and Ndebele. I am not going to be using titles because theatre has its own language.”
Vumani Oedipus runs from 6 -11 October at the Barney Simon Theatre at The Market Theatre.