There was a standing ovation for Khayalethu Anthony in his one-hander, The Champion, last night. Absolutely well deserved!
The play is written and performed by Anthony. The Champion was nominated as Best Script in the Baxter's Zabalaza Theatre Festival and tackles the issue of domestic violence. In a way that is not preachy or moralistic, Anthony really gets the audience thinking about who is to blame for the violence that blights many relationships. It is a tribute to his script and to his acting abilities, that we, as the audience, feel sympathy for 'the champion' - the perpetrator. He evokes the characters of his story with humour and pathos. The pace and the timing keep us engaged and interested throughout and the audience made their involvement known! At times it felt like a conversation in a taxi - it was that close and intimate.
The set, designed by Luyanda Somkhence, is of a simple township room with the boundaries between street and room indicated by jagged pieces of cut-down corrugated iron. It serves the piece well. Another Khayalethu, this time Mofu, directed the piece and really brought this story to life, keeping it tight and real.
The Champion deserves high praise for a sensitive but unsentimental piece. Anthony states in his notes that he hopes that people will "think about the role they can play in helping young boys to become good young men". The Champion does that, and deserves to be seen by many people.
The Champion runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio until 8 October at 7pm nightly, with matinee performances at 2pm on 4 October. There is an age restriction of 14 years.
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