reviewed by Paula Citron
World Stage/Mopo Productions
Written and directed by Laura Foot Newton
Starring Mncedisi Shabangu and Nonceba Constance Didi
At Harbourfront’s Studio Theatre until Feb. 21
The latest World Stage offering is a grim subject. Tshepang, based on a true story and written and directed by Lara Foot Newton, is about the rape of a 9 month old infant. The program notes tell us that there are over 20,000 child rapes in South Africa each year.
The play is basically a monologue for the character of Simon, performed with equal amounts of passion and bewilderment by Mncedisi Shabangu. Simon is the sympathetic companion of the mute woman who is the mother of the child, and Nonceba Constance Didi’s silent performance is astonishing for the misery she conveys. Gerhard Marx’s symbolic prop design is equally triumphant.
Tshepang is certainly a very powerful production, but I do admit impatience with plays that indicate something harrowing has happened and take awhile to get there. Despite my personal cavil, the performances and scenography are worth the theatrical experience.
Tshepang continues at Harbourfront’s Studio Theatre until Feb. 21.