Emerging playwright and director, Sibahle Mabaso is presenting an existential comedy-drama, IN TRANSIT at Theatre Arts, Observatory, as part of their national and international festival, ‘Theatre In The Dark’ that runs from 15 to 25 February 2024. The festival seeks to reimagine how theatre can still thrive despite the rollout of loadshedding.
This metaphor-induced narrative introduces a character by the name of Passenger 26, an individual who has just seen the end of his existence on earth finds himself having to grapple with the end of his existence as he transcends into another realm. This character arrives in limbo thinking that he is going to paradise, whereas he is not. He meets a bus driver, a messenger angel, whom he is convinced is the saviour. Happy that the decisions that he made in his lifetime have gotten him to paradise, he starts imagining how it will be when the bus eventually arrives to paradise. Much to his dismay, his joy is short-lived.
Passenger 26 tries to bargain with the saviour to no avail. He finds himself in the same position as Atlas, as he bears the weight of his decisions on hisshoulders. He finds himself relating to Vladimir and Estragon who are eternally in waiting, as well as Sisyphus, who is plagued with rolling up the boulder up the hill for eternity. This piece reimagines what could possibly lie between the end of one’s existence in one realm and the beginning of their existence in another. It explores what is but is not – stepping momentarily into the shoes of anyone – you, I, us – who has ever had to come to terms with being in transit, or not.
The themes within the work tie in with the existential dread that can be located in most South Africans as they encounter loadshedding – the constant waiting for the clock to strike so that the power comes back on. But like Passenger 26, we are each left with a choice – especially as we approach election season - do we sit and twiddle our thumbs, do we nap our way through the long cycles of no power, do we try to form connections,look our family members in the eye and actually talk to them, do we bargain, or do we just accept fate?
The show is devised and directed by Sibahle Mabaso, an emerging playwright, director and performer from Bloemfontein. She is a diverse writer who loves writing about human experiences. Her didactic theatre for youth script got picked up for presentation at the Baxter Theatre Centre as part of their ‘Teksmark’ 2023 in partnership with the KKNK which saw a warm audience response. Her new play, ‘Mme We!’, which is about a strained relationship between a mother and her daughter, is set to take the stage at the Tembisa Theatre Week in February 2024. She has also written and directed ‘Where Does the Sun Wait Before it Rises?’ which addresses society’s response to womxn in the LGBQTIA+ community within the South African cultural kinesphere – it debuted at the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) in 2023. ‘In Transit’ is her independent theatre debut, and the more abstract and lighter of her works.
The show is devised and is performed by budding young artists, Fika Majozini and Katelynne Matthews who are students at the University of the Free State
IN TRANSIT carries an age restriction of PG14. It will be onstage at Theatre Arts from 17 to 19 February 2024 at 8:30pm with tickets (R100pp general admission) available online at www.theatrearts.co.za