From its successful debut in Paris, France to its South African debut at the 2014 National Arts’ Festival Fringe in Grahamstown, ‘The Dirt Road’ has now showcased in London, UK at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden as part of the SA-UK Seasons 2015.
This original South African stage play is written by up-and-coming theatre maker, actress and writer Kim Sanssoucie. The 2-hander has Sanssoucie as Kate Ndlela, a gentle school teacher and her husband, a prolific artist; Simphiwe Ndlela who will be portrayed by accomplished stage and television actor Batsile Ramasodi.
Set in contemporary Johannesburg, this quirky but inherently tragic love story follows the relationship between a Xhosa man and a Coloured woman. Their youthful romantic love is challenged by cultural disparity and common marital trials. An external incident causes them to harshly re-examine their own truths and expectations. ‘The Dirt Road’ is an honest portrayal of a tumultuous relationship enveloped by an authentic adoration between two lovers.
‘The Dirt Road’ was part of French Seasons 2013; produced by Johannesburg based live performance production company Slice Bean Machine in association with the National Arts Council of South Africa.
It showcased at the American University of Paris as well as the Lavoir Moderne Parisien Theatre to wonderful reviews. Andrew Davidson, Head of Comparative Literature at the American University of Paris and a New York Best Selling Author and Critic said of watching ‘The Dirt Road’;
“The audience felt as if they were intruding upon a real couple in the most private moments of their relationship. The feeling of honesty was so intense that at times it felt uncomfortable, in the best possible way”
“Fearless performances by both actors” The CUE Newspaper, official National Arts Festival publication, critiqued the show saying; “This dramatic production casts a critical yet humorous eye on interracial relations” “Simply world-class” While Mike Loewe who is Chief Reporter for the Dispatch and National Arts Festival veteran critic said;
“This is stripped down, brave theatre about a post-modern, new age SA” “Dialogue was skilful” “The tension is razor sharp and their pain is raw”
Maud Madlyn, the Artistic Director at Etcetera Theatre in London praised the show by saying:
“Kim and Batsile are a hypnotic couple on stage. The way they listen to each, their honesty and chemistry is so true”
“The Dirt Road is visceral, truthful, uncompromising and yet subtle”
“A very intelligent piece of theatre definitely worth seeing!”
‘The Dirt Road’ unapologetically comments on relevant, social issues that fall part of our current discourse in contemporary South Africa. It questions the relationship between our instilled traditions and our modern socio-economic environment with a post-apartheid backdrop. These themes are tackled through the relationship of a youthful, inter-cultural married couple. The play does not follow a linear timeline and has unconventional and stylized direction and lighting design which makes it a new, fresh piece of art from a proudly South African troupe. Truly an original and contemporary slice of South African theatre not to be missed! For more information find us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/the-dirt-road-play/
Catch The Dirt Road from 13-24 July at Space.com, Joburg Theatre Complex.