The 2022 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Theatre recipients, Theatre Duo Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana’s multi-award winning, Tswalo, which celebrates the art of solo performance, transfers to the Baxter Masambe Theatre from 16 to 20 May at 7.30pm with matinee performances at 2pm.
Written and performed by Billy Langa with direction and lighting design by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, in collaboration with sound designer, John Withers, the dynamic one-hander begs the question (or theory) of being, becoming and unbecoming.
Tswalo is a body of poems constructed to fragment a narrative that is carried in both physicality and voice. It is placed in a timeless space of existence, which explores the primary themes of being, chaos and beauty, blood and birth, love and war in the same frame.
Poetry and physical storytelling entwine to interrogate the rules that govern life on earth, such as power, creation, politics, connection, and intuition - the performers’ expression of his ‘source’.
Tswalo is the winner of the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Solo Performance, the Standard Bank Ovation Award, and the Cape Town Fringe Fresh Performer and Fresh Creative (directing) awards.
The production has played to sold out houses and has received glowing reviews and rapturous responses from audiences. Weekend Special said, "This is what theatre should, and can be." While TheatreScene Cape Town described it as a "World-Class performance". The Critter called it, “Mystical made manifest " and arts-comment was equally generous, saying, "Tswalo is intelligent theatre".
The production played to critical acclaim locally throughout South Africa and internationally including Germany, Namibia and Scandinavia. The play was published in 2019 by Iwalewabooks, an independent publishing company based in Germany and South Africa. It is currently part of the curriculum at Rhodes University and is taught under Translanguaging, Performance and Theory.
The work was development in 2016 which resulted in a piece of total theatre that combines movement, song and text towards a development of a distinct theatrical language as a way of reconstructing and deconstructing the orthodox and the traditional chronology of telling stories.
Tswalo runs for a limited season from 16 to 20 May at 7.30pm with matinees from 18 to 20 May at 2pm. Ticket prices range from R80 (matinees) and evening performances from R90 to R120.
Booking is through Webtickets online at webtickets.co.za/baxtertheatre or at Pick n Pay stores. For block and schools’ bookings or fundraisers, contact Leon van Zyl on firstname.lastname@example.org or Carmen Kearns on email@example.com.