At the end of an international residency with the Royal Court Theatre in London, a group of South African writers founded a playwright-centred initiative in South Africa, and named it PlayRiot.
PlayRiot is made up of 11 South African playwrights including:
Mongiwekhaya, Omphile Molusi, Napo Masheane, Neil Coppen, Amy Jephta, Tau Maserumule, Elliot Moleba, Simo Majola, Khayelihle Dominique Gumede, Genna Gardini and Nobantu Shanbangu.
On Friday, the PlayRiot collective will host a roundtable discussion at The Market Theatre from 14:00, where they will be debating current issues of South African theatre.
We spoke to Simo Majola, poet, writer, director behind many works, including 21 Poets and A Poem, to talk briefly about the collective and his play, ahead of the roundtable discussion on Friday.
How exactly did you come to be involved with PlayRiot?
Playriot culminated after 11 playwrights who went on a residency program by British Council/ConnectZA and the Royal Court Theatre. Six of us plus Thabiso Afurakan Mohare in London 2014, sat down after the readings of our plays, and reasoned more about how about we can form a collective that will really address the issues of playwrights and help grow the culture of readings that will lead to staging full productions. We then came back and brought this to the attention of other writers and we were on the move from then onwards. Thabiso played a major role in seeing the vision possible.
Please tell us more about your play and the inspiration behind it?
The Last Mk Fighter is a story of searching for a new understanding of the sacrifices made for one’s country…
The story was inspired by my father, an ex MK soldier, who served in exile and came back with nothing but nightmares that we, his children are duty bound to wake him up from every night.
Going into PlayRiot, what were your expectations or objectives, and how have they evolved since?
PlayRiot is a growing child that has been growing up quite well and has not disappointed. I don’t think I had any expectations; I am not one who does things with expectations. But so far, I’d say we coming alright. We have a full year reading program of all eleven plays with one full production already under its belt, the Royal Court monologue project, and Mongi’s currently touring play. I’d say we are moving.
Mongiwekhaya’s play is the first to open at The Market Theatre. When can we look forward to seeing yours?
The Last Mk will premier in Durban at the Playhouse probably later this year, should I get all the monies for production. Actually, Napo Masheane showed her’s late last year A New Song. Mongi’s play I See You was the one that was taken by the Royal Court to produce.
Registration for the roundtable discussion on Friday afternoon starts at 13:00. For more information, contact Moipone Tlale on email@example.com and 084 757 6029.
For more information on the PlayRiot collective, visit playriot.weebly.com.