“We have to start telling stories in our own languages. It’s equally important to take a pause and look back – not in anger, but in a space of memory for our children, and to celebrate the history and culture in our languages."
Naledi Theatre Awards Best Ensemble: Lepatata, Prod. by Market Theatre & Windybrow Theatre. Written by Moagi Modise, Dir. by Makhaola Ndebele.
SO WHAT'S THE PRODUCTION ABOUT?
The distant wailing of a Kudu horn (Lepatata) cuts through the silence of the early morning dawn (Mahube- a – naka tsa kgomo), while the villagers ready themselves with the usual chores of the day. We see a woman in pain, she is obviously in labour. Upstage an old man plays a traditional musical instrument called Setinkana/Mbira. He is lost in his own world as he sings an old folk song (Peolwana).
The mood of the scene is surrealistic and stylized. The actions between the dance of the women upstage and that of the old man playing the Setinkana happens simultaneously. It should appear as if the old man’s playing/singing is done for the women’s dance, their actions in unison. The woman’s groans grow louder and louder, then she collapses from exhaustion. We hear the first cries of the baby after birth.
The old man continues humming while playing his instrument, then stops abruptly, and looks around, as if afraid someone would hear him. The women crawl off stage, taking the new-born child with them…