A courageus new work entitled, The Crook’s Eye, written and directed by Mthokozisi Zulu and starring Thuso Mbedu opened tonight at Durban’s foremost hatchery of great new works, the Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s Wharf and only plays until the 19th April. It was a small but appreciative audience that enjoyed this new work that could not have arrived on the scene at a more appropriate time in Durban considering the violence the city has witnessed in the last week. Through beautifully structured extended metaphor, incorporating physical movement and some well written lines delivered excellently by Thuso Mbedu and Mtho Zulu himself, it tells the tale of an abused young women who having found happiness with her man “Tim” falls prey to criminal violence and is killed. To tell any more of the story would be to destroy the sting in the tale – violence begets violence is all I can say and we seeing it in Durban at the moment every day!
This young couple give great performances but one wonders whether the mainstream media and the Durban Theatre Awards will really notice. I’m constantly amazed at how little the dominant theatre hegemony has changed in the last 21 years of the new South Africa. It would seem our media are way more interested in the celebrity scandals of internationals than they are in the amazing new South African talent. I wonder how many of the Durban Theatre Awards judges will even make time to see this production. (As usual Caroline Smart and Jean van Elden were there!)
In fact, most of our ‘white’ traditional audience are not adventurous enough to visit a show that tells the true hard story of life as a ‘black’ person in South Africa. No, they all prefer to escape into a fantasy world that takes them away from the harsh realities of everyday SA life. Cant say I blame them. It is getting more difficult every year to look at the craziness in our world, what with xenophobia rearing its ugly head on our doorstep, and our leaders rather spending more time negotiating their potential under the counter windfalls than delivering services, law & order for the very people that elected them. It’s depressing. In our down time, why sit through stuff that reminds us of all of this?
But be brave, go out see this work, its poetry and insight lifted my spirits in a way that only great theatre can. It wasnt easy, it wasnt comfortable, but it was beautiful to watch in so many ways. See it, friends!