In (w)asem, written by Du Toit Albertze and Terence Makapan (and directed by Albertze), we meet a young man (played by Makapan) grappling with his sexuality, his race, and his existence in a world that doesn’t necessarily consider him a first-class citizen. As the man embarks on a frustrating Metrorail journey, the audience is afforded glimpses into his life and circumstances through a series of vignettes.
The young man calls himself an ‘accent chameleon’ because of his ability to adapt his manner of speech to blend with the accent of whomever he’s in conversation with —certainly a familiar concept to many South Africans. As Makapan uses balloons doodled on by the audience as public speaking proxies for things he himself can’t seem to voice, we are taken on a journey that touches on issues especially pertinent to the adolescent psyche.
The text, though clumsy in places, does present one clear truism for the modern age: ‘Dis sinneloos om planne te maak as jy van Metrorail afhanklik is’. Yes, anyone who’s had to take a gamble on whether or not the local rail system would in fact deliver them to their destination vaguely on time and in one piece on any particular day, would agree with this sentiment. Perhaps life acts in the same way as Cape Town’s capricious public transport system; perhaps no one should try to plan too far ahead, as one never knows when the next last-minute platform change, delay or cancellation might just derail everything.
(w)asem is part of the Cape Town Fringe Festival and can be seen at P4 Studio on the 29th and 30th of September, and on the 1st of October.