A play that made use of poetical narrative debuted on last Thursday night at the Joburg Theatre.

21 Poets and a Poem told a story of a young man caught between following his dreams and the pressure to conform to society’s expectation of him.

The strong cast of nine young actors delivered the story by using of the conventions of poetry.

The play begins with a song in the dark which is then followed by a non-choreographed sing-a-long including the whole cast.

The story follows Themba Mokoena who tries to reconcile the desires of people in his life with his own desire to be in the arts.

He is berated by his parents, girlfriend and other people in his life to be practical and forget about the arts which bring no money in.

The play effectively combined singing, reciting and acting to communicate the heavy expectations that the main character struggles with.

Themba is silent for the most part but we get occasional glimpses into his psyche in poetic monologues.

Actors walk through the audience while reciting poems to stir them into listening intently.

“In a world where we have to beg to be ourselves,” said one poet as she walked amongst the audience.

The play also touched on the issue of how we treat the homeless.

The play ran until Sunday 12 August at the Fringe stage in Jo’burg Theatre.

21 Poets and a Poem was produced by Youth Development which is a Jo’burg Theatre department that aims to make theatre attending more accessible to all of society.