South African Cultural Observatory

Original Woza Albert! Comes to State Theatre

BY 29.01.19

Performers and storytellers extraordinaire, the dynamic and renowned original actors of the internationally acclaimed South African classic Woza Albert! Mbongeni Ngema and Percy Mtwa, together with their original crew, have regrouped to stage this world-class form of protest theatre once more, and they are headed to the South African State Theatre this March 2019.

It has been somewhat four decades since the creative geniuses penned down what arguably would forever be hailed as one of the best plays to ever be scripted in theatre worldwide. At the height of apartheid, both actors asked a question; what would happen if Christ returned to South Africa? They then developed a stage play, Woza Albert! with renowned theatre-maker and co-founder of the Market Theatre, Barney Simon. The production, a celebrated example of hard-hitting political satire, toured the world during the late 1970s and 1980s, and played a major role in raising awareness and global support for the anti-apartheid struggle.

Woza Albert! explores how the second coming of Christ (Morena) would affect the lives of poor black people, and how the white apartheid authorities would react. The two actors, directed by Christopher John, present a compelling view of a multitude of black and white characters as they explore themes of race and class and expose the power structures of white supremacy. The play concludes with a call for Christ (Morena) to raise the dead heroes and leaders who fought against apartheid.

State Theatre CEO, Dr. Sibongiseni Mkhize comments: “Even in the current democratic climate, the question that was asked by Ngema and Mtwa during the days of apartheid is still relevant. There is a lot going on in our maturing democracy which arguably makes those who died with a revolutionary sword to turn in their rested graves. Constant contestation over the meaning and direction of the new South Africa’s socio-economic and political dispensation, the debilitating effects of corruption and relentless economic inequalities, are some of the things that perhaps await the second coming of Morena!”

Being the home of robust debates and uncompromising, hard-hitting theatre, the South African State Theatre proudly presents Woza Albert! in association with The Playhouse Company in Durban - where it started touring in December 2018 and sparked critical acclaim before it proceeded to Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

Some media reviews;

“I urge everyone to watch this play,” The Witness;

“A powerful piece of theatre,” SoSuterBill;

“Astonishing and breath-taking storytelling,” ArtSmart.

Woza Albert will be on stage from 8 to 31 March at State Theatre. Tickets can be purchased for R110 and R100 if you are a student or pensioner at Webtickets (online at www.webtickets.co.za or at Pick n Pay stores nationwide). Webtickets is State Theatre’s newly contracted service provider for ticket sales. For block bookings, patrons can contact SAST sales team on 012 392 4000.

For Woza Albert!
Writer/ Performer - Mbongeni Ngema
Writer/ Performer - Percy Mtwa
Director - John Christopher
Lighting Designer - Mannie Manim
Stage Manager - Dickson Malele

Social Media
Hashtag: #WozaAlbert
Twitter: @sastatetheatre | Facebook: South African State Theatre| Instagram: @sastptown

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