“Cyber Guitarist” and crew to rock Great Hall

Three cities concert with “cyber-guitarist” and Wits music lecturer to rock the Great Hall on 28 April.

HACKED EQUIPMENT: The “cyber-guitarist” Jonathan Crossley stands with his heavily modified Ibanez guitar that he will play at the 3 cities concert in the Great Hall on 28 April. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

HACKED EQUIPMENT: The “cyber-guitarist” Jonathan Crossley stands with his heavily modified Ibanez guitar that he will play at the 3 cities concert in the Great Hall on 28 April. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

Three cities, three musicians, one Great Hall.

Wits music lecturer and “cyber guitarist” Jonathan Crossley will unite with New York based drummer, Lukas Ligeti and Capetonian drummer, Jonno Sweetman for a performance of epic proportions in the Great Hall on Tuesday, 28 April.

In the hopes of duplicating the success of last year’s show, the trio will come together again in the hopes of making an even more successful performance.

Crossley will be performing on his unique cyber guitar system, a hardware “hacked” Suzuki Omnichord, as well as playing an array of other unique instruments.

Jonno Sweetman, a musician and avid surfer, will be packing his surfboard away and bringing his drumsticks on his way from Cape Town.

With 32 years of study, Crossley is a classically trained guitarist, but on stage he appears to be something of a combination of man, robot, and guitar.

Crossley put on a world-first musical performance a few months ago, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for his doctorate in music.

It took Crossley three years to create what he calls his “hardware hacked electric jazz guitar”. Crossley describes himself as a guitarist, technologist, cyber-protagonist and composer.

When asked about his “unique” instrument, Crossley describes “the instrument system itself is completely software free… no PCs or laptops are engaged actively whatsoever in the performance and further no music is pre-prepared in a recorded audio format. All music is improvised wholly live”.

“The performance will be completely unlike traditional music, which is either pre-prepared or improvised over a predesigned set of constraints”, Crossley said illustrating further on the upcoming performance.

Lukas Ligeti will be jetting in from New York where John Zorn’s Stone Club where they have recently presented a week-long retrospective of his work. Ligeti lives in Joburg and New York and is currently completing his PhD at Wits.

Ligeti often leads or co-leads several bands such as Burkina Electric (the first electronic band from Burkina Faso), Sonic Youth and the Grateful Dead. Ligeti has collaborated with musicians across Africa, and in 2010 he received the Alpert Award in Music.

Jonno Sweetman is much in demand as a drummer and has played with the Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner, Kyle Shepherd, and has travelled beyond his borders to perform in Europe and Asia.

The trio will be performing improvisations between each other, playing original works and rock classics from bands such as Nirvana.

Wits’ musical talent ends tour at home

Musician Carlo Mombelli will present “Carlo Mombelli and the Stories Ensemble” this Saturday night at the Great Hall, Wits University. The jazz show is a part of the year-long concert series presented by the Wits Theatre.

Musician, Carlo Mombelli gets ready for a concert backstage. He is  a composer at Wits University. Photo: Reza Khota

Musician, Carlo Mombelli gets ready for a concert backstage. He is a composer at Wits University. Photo: Reza Khota

A shiny piano, large wooden cello, tall brass trombone beautifully accompanied by African vocals will fill the hollowness of the Great Hall at Wits University on Saturday night.

As a part of a year-long concert series presented by Wits Theatre, Wits University’s own Carlo Mombelli will showcase his work together his group of acclaimed musicians.

The group consists of three South African and three European musicians. “I work with the incredible pianist Kyle Shepherd, who was the Standard Bank young jazz artist of the year in 2014, and the amazing Zulu singer, Mbuso Khoza,” Mombelli said.

“I have brought over three incredible musicians from Europe,” he added. Drummer, Dejan Terzic, won the German jazz musician of the year, trombonist, Adrian Mears worked for ECM Records and cellist, Daniel Pezzotti is from the Zurich Opera Orchestra.

Mombelli and his group are ending their South African tour with the Great Hall performance this weekend and look forward to playing for the Wits community. “Great Hall is a very special venue,” he said, “Beautiful acoustics, fantastic piano and a real listening experience.”

Mombelli’s passion for music earned him his doctorate degree and in 2010, a permanent post at Wits to run ensembles and teach improvisation and composition techniques. His current show, Carlo Mombelli and the Stories Ensemble, was inspired by his many life events.


Let’s talk about sex, baby!

The Seventh annual Sex Actually festival produced by Drama for Life (DFL) is here, with the theme “Love, Intimacy and Human Connection”.

A plethora of theatre performances, workshops, sex talk series and community dialogues are taking place at the Wits Theatre. The festival started this week and runs till the end of the month.

It will offer a platform for audiences to critique social change interventions in sex-related issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual violence and abuse.

In the opening address for the festival, DFL director Warren Nebe, said the festival was launched as an initiative to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa.

He said the aim of the festival is to explore human connections in all its shapes and forms. DFL wanted to create a festival thats transcends race, class, gender and sexualities.

Tarryn Lee, Sex Actually festival director, said this year the festival is a public intervention looking to use exciting mediums to talk about sex, relationships and HIV/AIDS since it is often viewed as a heavy subject. They use dialogue to break the silence around the stigmas attached to taboo issues.

“In South Africa specifically, sex is often a very heavy subject in our society … It’s not always a celebrated subject and is also filled with many myths and taboos,” she said.

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TALK SEX: Drama For Life students perform Ships by Night by Megan Godsell in the opening of Sex Actually festival at Wits Theatre. Photo: Anazi Zote


Lee said the myths and taboos around sex need to be de-mystified and brought to light so that sex-related issues “are challenged in our community, our families and work space”.

South African National AIDS Council (SANCA) Deputy Chairperson, Mmapaseka Steve Letsike, appeared at the official opening of the Sex Actually festival. Her opening address started by praising women for their fight for human rights.

“By talking we facilitate dialogue and conversation about the certain taboos that encircle our society,” Letsike said.

Although she highlighted the triumphs of women who fought political struggles she said the current fight over HIV/AIDS is prevalent in young women aged 15-24. According to the Mail & Guardian, the rate of HIV amongst females is four times higher than that of males in the same age group.

“We have committed to really focus on young women,” said Letsike, adding that SANCA had also  launched the Zazi campaign, which is about knowing yourself, embracing yourself and knowing your status, ” Letsike said.

Zazi is a Zulu word meaning “know yourself”. It reminds women to know their inner strength, value and what it means to be themselves so they can overcome adversity. The programme was launched at the University of Johannesburg  on Soweto campus in partnership with the Department of Social Development.

In the meanwhile, Wits students at DFL take pride in this year’s festival performances because it raises awareness on issues which continually face youth. Damilola Apotieri, Masters student at DFL, thinks the festival is a good opportunity for students to lend themselves to different conversations around sex and relationships in hopes to generate more knowledge on these issues.

“Personally, I will recommend that all Wits students attend as there can never be any better platform to engage with such issues,” Apotieri said.

Theatre staff complain over overtime pay


EMPTY POCKETS:  Disgruntled staff at the Wits Theatre are clashing with new management, about over-time pay.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

EMPTY POCKETS: Disgruntled staff at the Wits Theatre are clashing with new management, about over-time pay. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

By Lameez Omarjee and Roxanne Joseph

Wits Theatre staff are complaining about changes in the way they are paid overtime saying “new management” limits their claims.

“Our contract says five days a week, but now we work up to seven days sometimes,” said Sipho*, who works at the theatre.

Spreading hours

Sipho said the work hours set in their contracts have been spread out across the week, and not five days. Even though workers come in on the weekends, they do not get paid for overtime because they are still working off the week’s required work hours.

Sipho was told by management they did not qualify for “overtime” pay because the “minister” does not allow it. Sipho also said that “all” the staff were unhappy with conditions.

“They [are] limiting worker hours,” said Olivia Moeti, whose mother works at the Wits Theatre. Workers finish at 3pm on weekdays but come in on Saturday to work the other hours required by their contract, she said.
The theatre employs five cleaners, two of whom are directly employed by Wits.

According to theatre manager Gita Pather, university policy states that anyone who earns under the threshold of R198 000 each year is entitled to overtime and has to work at least 42.5 hours a week. They also cannot work more than 10 hours overtime, because it is against labour law.

“The rules of the industry have been negotiated and are in line with university policy and labour laws,” she said. When she took over as manager, overtime rules were not strictly enforced.

“They were getting paid overtime and taking toil,” she said. “Those who didn’t qualify for overtime were being given it anyway … People had gotten used to being paid huge amounts of overtime.”
But this year, she was given a budget and has to use that amount allocated to overtime across the whole year.

New management

Problems started when new management took over this year, said Moeti. “My mum has been working here for 31 years, this is the first time it’s happening.” The new management insists that these new rules come from Wits University, she said.

“According to management, they say, Wits says it’s [work on Saturdays] is not overtime … They say Wits says they must get a day off instead of paying them,” she said.

“I am completely satisfied that we are working within the rules set by the university and labour laws.”

However, Pather did not know about this and said the only thing that has changed is the number of hours they are allowed to work. Unless it is festival time, employees do not work on a Sunday and they work off a call sheet.

Wits Services, who manage the cleaning staff, are not aware of any overtime issues. According to director Nicki McGee: “We undertake when appointing service providers via the approved, transparent tender processes, and in consultation with numerous stakeholders at the university.

“The service providers adhere to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act … to ensure that such practices do not occur.”

Additionally, there aren’t different rates for night shift, from 4pm to 8.30pm. No provision for transport is made for staff ending their shifts at night. “It’s not fair to let a woman walk to Bree in the middle of the night,” said Moeti.
Pather said security provides transport to all Wits employees who work late at night. “They take them to the taxi rank.”

Moeti said management was trying to save on expenses throughout the year so that they could get “more money in December”. She said: “They’re trying to save, they’re saving on other people’s expense.”
She also said more people had problems but they were too scared to come forward, out of fear of losing their jobs.

“There is an issue,” Pather said. “But I have a set amount of money.” She said the theatre is “completely compliant”. She said she is aware of the unhappiness, but has a budget and has to manage that.
“I am completely satisfied that we are working within the rules set by the university and labour laws.”

*not his real name



969 Film Festival


FESTIVAL: “Hamlet” one of the productions from the 969 festival was chosen among the top 20 shows selected from the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

Joburgers looking for a taste of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival have until Sunday to plunge into 969 festival at the Wits Theatre.

The festival showcases 20 of the top performances from art festivals main stages as well as the fringe.

Wits Theatre director Gita Pather called 969 festival a success with sold out performances all week. She said organising the festival is a lot of hard work but her job is made easier because she selects productions only from the Grahamstown festival to bring to Wits.

“This university is about collaboration, about pushing the boundaries of the work we do in whatever we do … and the Wits Theatre is about providing an incubator for new talent,” Pather said.

One of the key changes made this year was moving 969 festival closer to the national event in Grahamstown.

Pather said this year’s festival gained a unique aspect because it has been filled with immensely talented people and different plays which had a mix of dance, drama, physical theatre and stand-up comedy. “I think all theatres and all festivals reflect their artistic directors and their particular bent towards the arts,” said Pather.

One of the productions for the 969 festival, Hamlet directed by Jenine Collocott, had its first performance on Wednesday night with a good turnout. Collocott describes the play as a comedia delighte of the Shakespearean Hamlet.

Hamlet is a 35-minute performance which consists of comedy, physical theatre, and improvisation which is stylistically inspired by the story of Hamlet. It features actors James Cairns, Jaques De Silva and Taryn Bennett.

A student production, Ira, is a physical theatre performance which explores the strange nature of human emotions and how we express or supress them.

It is directed by Wits drama students Daniel Geddes and Mark Tatham. Geddes said he felt good about performing in this year’s 969 festival as it was his first time.


“It’s exciting and it’s also nice to have that it is also recognised in a bigger platform outside of student work,” he said.

They have also recently performed at film festivals in Grahamstown and Pretoria but Geddes says he is glad to be home at Wits because he enjoys the support of his peers.

“It’s nice coming back to Wits where your peers are kind of keen to see it,” Geddes said.

The 969 Festival was originally funded by the Johannesburg Development Agency and Wits University to give locals the opportunity to experience the national arts festival without traveling the 969 kilometres to Grahamstown.

Miss Gay Jozi crowned in colourful pageant

by Zelmarie Goosen and Robyn Kirk

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FLAUNTING IT: Miss Gay Jozi 2014 finalist Sjarmanté Diamanté showing off her first outfit backstage before the start of the show. She designed and made the dress herself. Photo: Robyn Kirk

Over the top make-up, fabulous dresses, and South African gay pride came to the Wits Theatre this weekend for the second annual 2014 Miss Gay Jozi pageant.

Miss Thabo Tee Menu took the title of Miss Gay Jozi in an event that featured 12 female impersonators or drag queen finalists.

The first princess was Thibe Monale and second princess, Theasare Jaars.

The theme of this year’s competition was a celebration of the country’s  20 years of democracy. The ladies did the first walk of the evening in a traditional outfit of their choice while Labelz performed Wakka Wakka, the song made famous during the 2010 World Cup.

“We basically do it [the pageant] within this month because on the 25th of May is Africa Day, so we want to celebrate and commemorate Africa Day and also show that us drag queens, and us gay people also are African,” said event co-ordinator Zsa-Zsa Whitney Gabor-Houston. “And we also believe in our country and believe in our rights and this is just a way of us expressing our rights as well as a gay community.”

Many of the organisers and finalists emphasised the importance of being proud of being gay and South African. “Be brave, come out, and don’t be afraid to explore,” said producer and director Dino Abrahams. “Don’t be afraid of who you are.”

Technical difficulties and wardrobe malfunctions meant the event got off to a slow start, but it was worth the wait. Along with Labelz several other performers wowed the crowd, including Divas of Drag, Ellah Elkenaza, Eldrid aka Mr. Carter, Sonwa Gxilishe, Foxy and Rosslyn Van Der Woodsen Bass.

The road to Miss Gay Jozi started with auditions of 25 hopefuls. The number was cut down to 12 finalists for Saturday night’s show, and throughout the evening only six made it to the final round.







The art of make-believe

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Recently the production Speak Sign Love was staged at the Wits Theatre.

Working with a strong cast and crew, Speak Sign Love creator Amy de Wet has set out on a journey to share a message with her audiences; a message of hope, love and compromise. There has been some controversy regarding Speak Sign Love; the concerns stemming from the fact that a hearing actress portrays a deaf character.

Speak Sign Love is a theatrical production, and like any other theatrical production it provides a space of time where reality and disbelief are suspended and the audience engages with fantasy. However, as the curtains close reality returns and everyone is aware that what they have seen is pretend. Although theatre often mimics reality, it is fantasy. The character of a mother can be played by a single, childless woman; the serial killer that strikes terror into the audience’s hearts is not played by an actual serial killer, his victims are not really dead and even the blood is fake. Yet in that moment of the story, you believe – that is the magic of theatre.

In order to give the audience this magic, a great deal of work goes into the process of preparing a production. The actress playing a mother will research and observe actual mothers in order to make her character believable. The actor playing the serial killer must do long hours of research and training to build his terrorising character – but his training will never include killing a person. The same principle applies to Speak Sign Love; the actress does not have to be deaf to portray a deaf person believably.

Most of the controversy around the theatrical industry arises from reactions to the artistic expression and the message the artist is articulating. The playwright, W. Somerset Maugham stated, “The drama is make-believe. It does not deal with truth but with effect.”

It is the privilege of an artist to craft their art until they gain the effect on the audience that they have envisaged. No artist claims that all must enjoy and agree with the art that they have produced. What the artist wants is that whilst the audience expresses their own opinion, they remember that the work is make-believe and that the artist has the prerogative, some may say even the duty, to express their art in any way they choose fit.

Beth de Wet
Producer for Speak Sign Love

Government Inspector tells of corruption through comedy

By Zelmarie Goosen and Robyn Kirk


THE RICH AND THE DUBIOUS: (from left) Obett Motaung, Campbell Jessica Meas, Michelle Schewitz, Jonathan Young and Peter Terry (foreground) in Jessica Friedan’s Government Inspector at the Wits Theatre. Photo: supplied

THE RICH AND THE DUBIOUS: (from left) Obett Motaung, Campbell Jessica Meas, Michelle Schewitz, Jonathan Young with Peter Terry (foreground) in Jessica Friedan’s Government Inspector at the Wits Theatre. Photo: supplied

The wealthy vying for the favour of the powerful, people giving gifts in order to gain something and a society in which greed conquers all. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

These are the central themes of the play Government Inspector that opened this week at the Wits Theatre.

Written more than 150 years ago the play is clearly still relevant to modern-day South African audiences.

For South African audiences

“It’s a satire set in Russia, not in South Africa, but I think we’ll see a lot of ourselves,” says director Jessica Friedan, a former Witsie. Friedan feels that through laughter, people look at issues differently. “I think we’re feeling a little brutalised with the country right now … we have enough commentary that’s very direct and very blunt and very harsh and we have enough depressing stuff.”

With the struggles South Africa is facing 20 years into democracy and the fallout from the Nkandla report fresh on our minds, Government Inspector takes a light-hearted look at what the elite will do to stay rich and powerful  through the deeds of a string of unlikable characters produced (or performed?) by  talented actors.

“I think it sort of brings out the universal themes of awful people using their positions to get lots of money and get lots of opportunities, which is as true in imperial Russia as it is here and anywhere else,” says Friedan.

Famous faces

The play sees guest performers Peter Terry and Matthew Lotter (both leading South African entertainers) acting alongside Wits School of Arts students. Friedan said she was  “very delighted” to have Terry and Lotter work with them.

“I think they bring a professionalism and an insight and also a perspective of what it is to work and what matters and doesn’t matter. The students have learnt a lot from them”.

Government Inspector is showing at the Wits Theatre on west campus, Braamfontein from till 30 April.

LETTER: Wits theatre head defends ‘deaf’ play

The following letter to the editor was received from Ms Gita Pather, Director of the Wits Theatre in response to a recent article: No sign of love for ‘deaf’ play.


“I need to express my dismay at your article titled “No sign of love for deaf” play”. It may have been your intention to shed light on a perceived disgruntlement about a play that includes a deaf role played by an hearing person in this case a Drama student enrolled within the WSOA but is rather shoddy journalism that should have addressed the issues in a balanced and informed manner especially since the focus of attention is a young, sensitive female student with the very best of intentions.

The journalist is obviously a student as well who should be guided a little more and that is why this letter is addressed to you as the editor.

It’s  sensationalistic and ignores some of the very fundamental stances related to artistic freedom and in fact the freedom of speech and expression (surely located at the heart of journalism?). A more valuable approach for your readers would have been to tease out those very issues: the rights of the deaf community in relation to artistic freedom/freedom of expression and the arts as a profession.

[pullquote align=”right”]”Dr Kaneko is entitled to her views but the study of drama and performance is really quite specific”[/pullquote]

You have attempted to capture the sentiments of “members of the Wits Community”  and they are referred to as such … vague and completely disregarding the fact that this university is as diverse as the society it is sited within. There is no “wits community” and to state it as such is to assume that we all share the same values, backgrounds, ideologies and that is plainly not true.

In your view, who are these members? Do they include students and staff on this campus who are actually studying/teaching drama and  who prize and would defend the right to artistic freedom as strongly as any other lobby? ?

Would that not have been more balanced reporting since you saw fit to include rather strong emotive statement from  Dr Michiko Kaneko? Dr Kaneko is entitled to her views but the study of drama and performance is really quite specific and actually requires an understanding of the totality of what the curriculum involves including the sanctity of the creative and artistic vision.

“The deaf community on campus and related stakeholders are entitled to their views”

The Deaf community on campus and related stakeholders  are entitled to their views but it needs to be balanced against the rights of artistes to practice their craft without pandering to every viewpoint.

The theatre is an arena  of constant contestation: it is about educating, inspiring, provoking, making statements about life in all its complexities . But as importantly it is absolutely personal , a sum total of a particular artistic viewpoint on a subject, the world, our community Actors are called actors because they “act”.

[pullquote]”The play has not been staged yet so exactly what is at issue here?”[/pullquote]

That is the nature of performance and we are all engaged in teaching our Drama and performance students about that art and it is an art. To presuppose that just anyone can “act” is ridiculous and rubbishes a art form that is actually one of the oldest professions in the world.

What is even more dismaying is that the play has not been staged yet so exactly what is at issue here … the fact that there is a hearing person playing the role of a deaf person? Amy de Wet is a student studying performance and how to be an actor. She is the director and has the final say on the play. In the creative industries, it is always the director’s prerogative.

It may turn out to be a stinker of a play or it may be fabulous. The Wits Theatre upholds the rights of all  students and artistic practitioners to fail because performance, directing and acting is not about absolutes, it is about process. This is even more important because Amy is a student here and has the same rights as any other member of the Wits “community”.

I think you need to revisit the issue in a more balanced and informed way.


Gita Pather

Director, Wits Theatre


Complexions of a young black girl

Come Duze: Mbali Malinga portrays the sexual violence inflicted on a young girl by a township thug Photo: Provided

“Come Duze”: Mbali Malinga portrays the sexual violence inflicted on a young girl by a township thug in the play Complexion showing at the Wits Nunnery till this Friday.                                                                                                                              Photo: Provided

Nothing in Mbali Malinga’s one woman show was over-the-top, despite obvious parallels that could be drawn between this Bildungsroman gone wrong and the infamous television show Yizo Yizo.

The stage of the Wits Nunnery where Complexion played this Monday was completely bare, except for assorted pairs of shoes –stiletto heels, pumps and sneakers – hanging from the low ceiling.

No music. No props. Basic lighting.

But unlike Yizo Yizo, this production swaps gratuity for subtlety to achieve a similarly chilling effect: of the starkness and troubles of growing up poor in South Africa’s townships.

One woman, 15 characters

At the end of play, which lasted a swift half hour, you understood why nothing but Malinga and the raucous rabble of characters she brought with her could fit on to the stage, and only just.

“I played 15 characters. A lot of my personal experiences went into it, as well as a lot of research. I needed to understand how these characters are,” Malinga explained after the show, which she developed and wrote herself, over a seven month period. Complexion evolved from a six minute performance Malinga prepared for her 4th year exams.

[pullquote align=”right”]“This is the story of a girl who is made by the home she comes from.”[/pullquote]

Subtitled “How do black girls paint the sky red?”, the play tells the simple story of a black girl growing up in the township. Malinga plays observer and subject, the latter germinating from infancy to puberty and encountering the almost typical hardships and joys of a black girl in the township.

Almost typical, but not quite. Rather than dwell on those familiar stereotypes of township life, which she portrays with bewitching verisimilitude  to the small crowds’ pleasure, Malinga shifts quickly between successive growth phases of womanhood, and consequently from one stereotype to the next, with a succinctness and intensity that denies her audience the luxury of forming simple, emotional reactions to what they are seeing..

More than the wrongs of eKasi

The result is a sharp, darkly collage of provoking vignettes that achieve what Malinga confessed she could not in the six-minute version of the play.

“At first, I was just trying to get that eKasi life out … it was an angry piece that just said this is wrong, this is wrong!”

But after grappling with the physical aspects of the play with movement guru Craig Morris, and taking advice from the unexpectedly “very honest, tough crowd” at the Hillbrow Children’s Theatre, Malinga was able to carve out a simple, powerful story she is proud of.

“This is the story of a girl who is made by the home she comes from.”

WITS NEWS: Harold Pinter Comedy at Wits

This information is taken from Wits News: please contact  wits.news@wits.ac.za


Celebration – by Harold Pinter; directed by Clara Vaughan.

The last play Harold Pinter is a scathing comedy depicting three couples dining at a oh-so-elegant restaurant and how each character fights for status and power, their noisy, witty conversation reveals past betrayals and distorted memories, and tries to hide the desperation and emptiness at the heart of it all.

Date: 17 – 29 September 2013

Time: 19:30

Venue: Wits Downstairs Theatre

Bookings: www.strictlytickets.com and at the door

More information: www.wits.ac.za/witstheatre

Caught between gender roles


CHILDHOOD TRAUMA: ‘Sthe’ regresses to his unhappy childhood state.          Photo: Mia Swart

CHILDHOOD TRAUMA: ‘Sthe’ regresses to his unhappy childhood state. Photo: Mia Swart

By Thuletho Zwane and Mia Swart

Torn pieces of paper filled the stage. Crumpled clothing and ties surrounded wine and beer bottles.

Sithembiso Khalishwayo, simply known as ‘Sthe’, appears and screams in anger: “As a child, I thought like a child, I spoke as a child. As a child I spoke of ignorance, ignorance is bliss”.

Sthe crawls under a chair, places his hands over his ears and face, shakes and cries uncontrollably – yelling nursery rhymes in an attempt to shut out the voices in his head: “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb…Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall…”

Water Glasses covered in Packets of Salt is a physical theatre production, with elements of dance, about gender roles and sexuality. It asks if sex remains a sacred bond between two people, or if it has transformed into something that happens when it’s desired or taken by force, leaving a path of emptiness, guilt and fear.

“The play deals with sex. The idea of being a man, of being a female. What defines the roles of the mother figure and the father figure and how it affects the child?” said Sthe.

He wanted people to experience the same emotions he felt when he performed, he said. The play has a mixed bag of emotions – “emotions we as human beings don’t want to feel but we have to feel them at a certain point in time.”

Sthe said [pullquote align=”right”]The play came from a very personal space. It encapsulated his stories and stories of other people. “I wanted to show a side of me that I haven’t shown in a while, who I am, how I view the world.[/pullquote]

“If you want to see theatre at its core, people should come watch it. It is an emotional rollercoaster.”

Sthe is an actor, teacher, writer, dancer and choreographer who studied at the Wits School of Arts, majoring in physical theatre and performance.

The play is one of a series of plays in the Drama for Life Sex Actually festival, which will run from August 20 to 31 at the Wits Theatre. Water Glasses covered in Packets of Salt will be performed August 23 at 6pm and on August 29 at 1.15pm at the Wits Downstairs Theatre.