Drama for a New South Africa

Drama for a New South Africa : Seven Plays

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The urgency of the anti-apartheid struggle created a vibrant protest theater in South Africa. But the single-mindedness of that theater obscured much of the diversity of South African life. In contrast, post-apartheid plays address a broad variety of social realities and employ a wider range of theatrical styles. This anthology collects the best recent examples of the new styles, subjects, and purposes of theater in South Africa.In addition to the abiding challenges of social inequity for the black majority, these plays deal with subjects such as Islamic fundamentalism, women's rights, ecology, Afrikaans culture, and the new multi-racial life of the inner city, and they do so in ways that go beyond the expressive parameters of conventional literary drama. And the Girls in their Sunday Dresses, Purdah, and Ipi Zombie combine the issue-oriented engagement of South Africa's popular pedagogical theater with refined attention to the delineation of character and themes.Sophiatown mixes aspects of township musical theater with sharply-honed dialog and dramatic interplay among the characters.
Using a more traditional dramatic form, Mooi Street Moves delineates the comedy and terror of urban life on the edge of the criminal underworld, while Crossing sketches the morbid obsessions of rural Afrikaans insularity. "Horn of Sorrow" combines mime and clowning traditions from Europe and South Africa in athletic performances that intertwine environmental and social development issues. In his introduction, David Graver illuminates the development of this drama and discusses how the protest plays of the apartheid era have combined with other influences to create distinct new theatrical forms to grapple with new social controversies of a democratic South Africa. Graver also provides helpful introductions to each of the seven plays, as well as a glossary of foreign terms and phrases.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 25.15mm | 527g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253335701
  • 9780253335708

Table of contents

Table of Contents: Acknowledgements Introduction Sophiatown (1986) by Junction Avenue Theatre Company Horn of Sorrow (1988) by Nicholas Ellenbogen And the Girls in their Sunday Dresses (1988) by Zakes Mda Mooi Street Moves (1992) by Paul Slabolepszy Purdah (1993) by Ismail Mahomed Crossing (1994) by Reza de Wet Ipi Zombi? (1998) by Brett Bailey Glossary
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Review quote

"Graver presents seven plays from the years when apartheid was falling apart. At that time, both the public and playwrights began noticing previously neglected social problems such as the oppression of black women, depicted in the plays in Kathy A. Perkins's anthology Black South African Women (CH, Sep'99). Graver casts his net wider and begins with Junction Avenue Theatre Company's Sophiatown (1988), a play treating one of apartheid's most odious evils, forced relocation. The plays that follow treat such subjects as abuse of women, poaching, and mindless bureaucracy. Particularly moving are Paul Slabolepszy's Mooi Street and Other Moves, about strangers in the big city who lose each other just when they begin to accept each other as fellow humans; Reza De Wert's Crossing, which reminded this reviewer of an Ingmar Bergman movie and is a haunting drama about ordinary people who are trying to bring some semblance of order to a chaotic world, though with mixed results; and Brett Bailey's Ipi Zombi, a powerful portrayal of how fear of witchcraft can overtake a community, overpowering both the victims and the aggressors. Recommended for libraries collecting in theater arts and studies, as well as in African literature and culture." --B. K. Beynen, Des Moines Area Community College, Choice, June 2000
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About David Graver

DAVID GRAVER earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Cornell University in 1987. Since then he has taught drama at Loyola University of Chicago, Stanford University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago. He is author of The Aesthetics of Disturbance and numerous articles on twentieth-century drama and performance. He has been studying, teaching, and writing on South African drama since 1988. In 1997, he began a law degree at the University of Chicago.
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