"Passage" play is part of the Zabalaza Theatre Festival at the Baxter

Aphiwe Menziwa, one of the actors
The play "Passage" explores the conflicts that men experience in modern society. Gone are the days when a man could just lay claim to superiority and authority on the basis of his gender. In today's world the man is vulnerable as he grapples with his identity. The destructive power of cultural and structural arrangements of our society are conveyed through the trauma that each of the young men experience in their lives.

Thando Doni,the director of the play, "Passage".
Each of the young actors deliver excellent performances. These young male actors who are the offspring of the macho, culturally divided society, were probably taken on their own journey of facing their own demons of macho ness, sexism, racism and cultural barriers. As the play unfolds, one can sense this ambivalence and can see their painful trauma as they try to transcend these divisive behaviours and thinking.

Even the sound effects were raw - so fitting for the issue that was portrayed. The barking dog sounds to portray the anger, the anguished screams during a nightmare and the use of the body to create a range of sounds and imagery, meshed the story of pain as the young men try to find themselves as individuals and as part of a collective.
Daniel Richards chatting to a few of the guests at the Opening Night of "Passage"
The other effective element is the multilingual language of the play that sends a strong signal of the equality of languages. The play challenges the notion of the dominance of certain languages. Each character speaks in the language of his choice and it is up to the listener to decode. I think this is a brilliant strategy, given that we often expect everybody to revert to English in South Africa, whether this language is understood or not.

Megan Hector, proud of brother, Actor Daniel.
"Passage" is one of the bold steps of interrogating those macho practices that are institutionalised in our behaviours and in our minds, those barriers that strip people of their dignity and intensify separatenes.

This is what theatre's role is: to creatively engage us in these tough conversations while entertaining us.


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