...And before you know it you are walking on the shore of one of Africa's beautiful lakes, accompanied by your tour guide Njawu (played by Mncedisi Shabangu). He is a funny man who easily charms foreigners visiting the town of Kisumu.
Lara Foot's production 'Fishers of Hope (Taweret)' running at The Baxter Theatre until 2 August quickly transports you into a small fishing village in the heart of Kenya and using Njawu as tour guide and narrator of the story she cleverly invites you to invest your emotions into the story and characters.
Ruth (Lesedi Job) and her husband, John (Phillip Tipo Tindisa), who lives in the fishing village on the lake, aren’t as happy as Njawu though. Each day their withering hope is reflected in their fishing nets. The introduction of a foreign fish species into the lake – to make big fishing companies lots of money - has had a devastating effect on the community and their ability to make a living.
And as if this is not enough, deep under the quiet waters of the lake awaits another threat to Ruth and John’s existence – a hippopotamus.
But there is beauty in danger too. The hippopotamus, symbolic of Taweret - the protective ancient mythological Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility - gives Ruth the chance to stand proud as provider to her family. The inclusion of Ruth’s brother Niara (played by Phillip Dikotla) and his son Peter (Shaun Oelf) also sets the scene for some interesting family relationships and challenges, some which are often too difficult to talk about.
Theatergoers will be amazed by the beautiful set design of Fisher of Hope (Taweret). Who needs to travel to other countries if you can experience Patrick Curtis’ work at the Baxter Theatre in stead?
And then there is the music and song by Nceba Gongxeka…. tranquil, ominous and everything you need it to be at the right time.
Foot manages to convey some very important messages using the context of another African country, which we feel contributes hugely to the success of the production. We found ourselves sympathizing more with people from outside our borders, which is almost scary to admit.
Foot is right, the value of theatre is in its ability to promote honesty and telling stories to re-write the plot of our lives.