By CityLife Arts Writer
As the country prepares for local government elections, Mr. President, a postmodern style theatre production showing from 5 to 17 October 2021 at the South African State Theatre (SAST), intends to become the voice for the voiceless whose basic rights are and have been neglected for more than 25 years. The academic research-based Mr. President -highlighting socio- political issues affecting the marginalised groups in South Africa- is produced by the SAST and adapted from ethnographic researcher and theatre maker Bongani Nicholas Ngomane’s thesis “The Invisible Faith in Democracy Ekas’lam – An Exploration of Public Ethnography as a form of Protest in an Arts-Based Methodology.
Written by Ngomane and directed by Tshepang Moticoe and Dr Karina Lemmer, Mr. President follows a postmodern style composition that exhibits still and moving images to illustrate the conditions that suppress the mindset of abantu base kas’lam. Through an installation, pictures, embodiment, sound and the voice, a collage is used to create an abstract image of the mindset that reflects the reality of abantu base kas’lam. To achieve this, it puzzles together the reality of the people from Ivory Park – to create a museum and to disclose the invisible faith in democracy towards abantu base kas’lam.’
Ngomane comments “Mr. President questions the greater period of a democratic zeitgeist that is not serving its people. How long is this ‘greater period’? or perhaps is the greater period, the democratic zeitgeist that brings not greater equality for all, to achieve a greater balance in societies, causing an imbalance to the rights of the majority for the protection of the minorities. How long can the citizens wait in expectation for the government to provide the promised basic rights?”
Mr. President is a creative exploration that problematizes the South African democratic system that fails to serve the marginalized. The set and sound are applied as installations that depict the ‘institution’, against which a journey into the consequences faced by the marginalized unfolds. All creative choices stem from evidence gathered during a creative research project and our goal was to generate a multi-dimensional immersive experience. To this end a combination of elements, physical expression, text, voice, sound, music and set is applied in an attempt to honour the complexity of the themes explored and the reality of those who live it.
“We hope that when the minority are brought into the exclamations of the majority a recognition and platform to voice out communally will be pathed, for those who have suffered the erosions of the democratic zeitgeist from unrectified paths of history. We can no-longer afford silence without productive progression,” concludes Ngomane.
Mr. President tickets are R130 at Wecbtickets, available online, State Theatre’s Box Office, and Pick n Pay stores.
Production Creative Team:
Research-Practitioner: Bongani Nicholas Ngomane
Directed by: Tshepang Moticoe and Dr Karina Lemmer
Set Designer: Thebe Tlhoaele
Original Score by: Franco Prinsloo-
Bongani Nicholas Ngomane: Actor
Monica Mhangwana: Mezzo-Soprano
Stage Manager: Lucy Philo Malefahlo
Lighting Designer: Wandile Mgcodo
Film: Molebogeng Teledimo