Winner of three Naledi awards, the acclaimed play A Voice I Cannot Silence has its Cape Town premiere at The Fugard Theatre Studio from 7 June to 25 June.
Originally funded by the National Arts Festival and the South African State Theatre, and produced by The Arts Trust of South Africa, A Voice I Cannot Silence is written by Greg Homann and Ralph Lawson. It is a moving and empathetic personal examination of life as portrayed through Alan Paton's own words, stories, poems, and autobiographies. It highlights the invaluable contribution made by the author of Cry, the Beloved Country who was, in the words of Douglas Livingstone, a "lighthouse in the South African twilight” during the dark decades leading up to the country's constitutional democracy. Paton's internationally recognised gifts of lyric verse, evocative prose, and vibrant story telling are combined to create a richly dramatic portrait.
The play focuses on the various watersheds in the author's life – his years as Principal of Diepkloof Reformatory, the “toughest black borstal in the southern hemisphere”; his position as President of the Liberal Party that led to harassment and a ten year period; his indomitable belief in and daunting struggle for human rights; and the complexities of his personal relationships.
Sometimes satirical, often wryly amusing, redolent with Paton's profound love of nature and the devout Anglicanism that sustained him – A Voice I Cannot Silence reveals a complex man who was haunted by the injustices of South African society.
The stellar creative team include direction by Greg Homann (Brothers in Blood; Delirium) and cast of Ralph Lawson as Paton; Clare Mortimer as his secretary Anne Hopkins and Menzi Mkhwane as the young man Sponono. Set Design is by Nadya Cohen; Lighting Design by Michael Broderick and Soundscape by Evan Roberts.
Lawson won the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Lead Performance in a Play (Male); Mkhwane won Award for Best Newcomer and Greg Homann and Lawson also won the Award for Best New SA Script.
Press comments have included praise such as “a fine tribute to a great South African” (Robyn Sassen); “a brilliantly written slice of theatre” (Peter Feldman, 48 Hours); “I was gobsmacked by Lawson’s extraordinary impersonation of this daunting man” (Nigel Vermaas, Cue) and ‘lump in the throat moments…. The script is peppered with wit and irony, intelligence…beautiful…Paton would be proud’ (Lesley Stones, Artslink).
The show was nominated for no less than eight Naledi Theatre Awards.
Producer Sue Clarence comments, “We are honoured to be premiering this play in Cape Town at the namesake Theatre of another of South Africa’s iconic writers.”
A Voice I Cannot Silence will run at The Fugard Theatre Studio from 7 June to 25 June Tuesday to Saturdays at 8pm with a matinee at 4pm on each Saturday. Tickets to the previews on 7 and 8 June cost R120 and R160 for all other performances. For groups of ten or more, tickets cost R150. Bookings can be made at Computicket or the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554. Age restriction: PG 13