SA theatre giants bring back iconic 'Woza Albert!' for run at Baxter

South African theatre legends Mbongeni Ngema and Percy Mtwa are giving life back to one of South Africa’s greatest stage classics, Woza Albert!.

Ngema and Mtwa developed the play with renowned theatre-maker, Barney Simon in the late 70s.

More than 30 years later, it remains one of the most iconic pieces of South African protest theatre and it's making a comeback at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

Ngema and Mtwa will lead the play once again, following a successful stint at The Playhouse Company in Durban recently.

Before that, the duo last performed the internationally-lauded play back in 1985.

Woza Albert! is a political satire play that imagines the second coming of Christ during the apartheid-era in South Africa.

The two theatremakers explain that they more mental capacity to the play than they did back in the 80s.

They describe how they workshopped the play, the political climate at that time, and how the play came to debut at The Market Theatre.

I missed a lot of assassinations because of these kinds of plays. Woza Albert! was the catalyst. These were not easy times, especially if you were living in the township. You could be arrested, shot at or hacked to death like many of our friends because for their association with us.

Mbongeni Ngema, renowned actor and playwright

It was a matter of life and death. Doing this play was not just performing or entertaining people, it was rooted in the spirit of the time and the spirit of the people.

Mbongeni Ngema, renowned actor and playwright

We wanted to do a theatre that no one had seen before, theatre of imagination that was only in our heads.

Mbongeni Ngema, renowned actor, playwright and theatremaker

Woza Albert! is done with a spirit not of this world.

Percy Mtwa, renowned actor and playwright

We rehearsed very hard, for about two years.

Percy Mtwa, renowned actor and playwright

Woza Albert! previews at the Baxter Flipside from 5 to 7 February, opens on 8 February and runs until 2 March.

There is an age restriction of 13 years.

Early booking is strongly advised.

Ticket prices range from R135 to R195.

Listen to the inspiring discussion on The John Maytham Show:

Image: Baxter Theatre website.


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