Eerie one-man play takes audience beyond the grave

Let's cut the crap; we're all going to die someday.

A theatre show I watched over the weekend put this fact into sharp focus.

Writer and performer Mpapa Simo Majola left the audience of his theatre production with a simple message: don't take life for granted.

Simo Majola in The Funeral. Image by Nardus Engelbrecht

The artist performed his one-man show, The Funeral, as part of the Cape Town Fringe Festival this month.

The Funeral, a story about the vanity of life and fear of death, showed at the Alexander Upstairs Theatre in the CBD and the Makukhanye Art Room in Khayelistha .

Majola provoked theatre-goers to meditate on the fragility of human existence through a simple premise: what really happens after we die?

His character, Scotch, is a dead man whose spirit has been indefinitely stuck in limbo.

Scotch breaks the fourth wall to confront the audience directly about uncomfortable questions that highlight human mortality.

Why do we spend so much on caskets and burials?

Why does it matter how someone dies?

Who determines how the dead are remembered?

Simo Majola in The Funeral. Image by Nardus Engelbrecht

By the end of the play, I was left thinking that it doesn't quite matter what happens to my decaying corpse, as long as I make the most of the breath in my lungs each day.

Majola's disjointed and jarring physical movement cuts through and juxtaposes the repetitive motions of his poetic monologue and the edited sounds of life heard overhead.

"The price of a grave is too expensive and the weight of tombstone too heavy for a dead man to carry."

The play is intimate and uses minimal props, with dimmed lighting and the simple and tactful use of stage lights.

The Funeral was choreographed by Billy Langa and directed by Phala O. Phala.

The Cape Town Fringe will run until 8 October, with a range of captivating shows and performances.

Click here for more.


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