The Suit


The third, and final, play of the SRT's "3 Titans of Theatre" is a singularly, powerful production that not only challenges you intellectually but tugs at the emotional heartstrings effortlessly. Strength in its simplicity, director Peter Brook has given us a simple stage, a small cast paired with a three-piece live band on stage, and showed us that did not limit his ability to provide variety, engage the audience - across the 4th wall from the get-go, no less - and wrought them through all the subtle complexities of the play, the music and the actors. At a tight 70-odd minutes, Can Themba's play appeared on the surface to be a simple story of a adulteress and her husband, but beneath that simple tale is a Morality play (not entirely different from Musashi), an Apartheid play, a Romantic play of Greek Tragedy and Shakespearean Comic proportions, a statement about Feminism and Feminity, and even a brief subtext on Religion, Sin and Forgiveness. Who the owner of the suit is is not important, but what/who it represents is the crux of the metaphor. South African singer/actress Nonhlanla Kheswa is a tender heartbreak with her soulful voice and achingly restrained acting; she is the anti-hero, the adultress, that we begin to develop Stockholm Syndrome towards. Hers is the journey that we follow through all the way and when it reached its unavoidable conclusion, we come to realise we had fallen hopelessly into Brook's and Themba's trap. The two male leads, Ivanno Jeremiah as the cuckolded husband, and Jordan Barbour as the narrator/Maphikela were both riveting and convincing in their roles as individuals living through South Africa's Apartheid period - not as victims, but as universal undeniable fact/truth. But perhaps the seeds of disruption were being planted in this fable-like tale of the husband's revenge on the wife. An absolutely powerful play that I am glad was brought to our shores.

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