THE premiere of the South African play, Ten Bush, at Theatre in the Park on Tuesday opened a new chapter on the local theatre scene.
Written and directed by Mncedisi Shabangu, the play offers a different dimension to local theatre, which has been overwhelmed by straightforward and predictable storylines.
The storyline of Ten Bush sifts through a basketful of themes simultaneously, yet simplifying complex issues to present an understandable production.
It takes a swipe at various vices in societies, particularly power and greed that lead to betrayal, revenge and conspiracy. It also poses questions about some old cultural practices.
The youthful cast of the play includes Nothando Nobengula, Caroline Mashingaidze and Getrude Munhamo.
Of interest, Rooftop Productions, the producers of the play ,who have often been lambasted for over use of a particular cast for different plays, have this time around included three new actors to Theatre in the Park.
The actors, Eddington Hatitongwi, Vusa Dzimwasha and Antony Dzimwasha all proved their worth, winning the hearts of the audience with good acts.
Some of the multiple facets of the play include a backstage right on stage. However, the demarcation between the two is often invisible.
What is commendable, however is the changeover concept where various instruments on set are thrown delicately to some of the cast members.
The exercise goes smoothly and makes sure the audience does not spend intervals staring at empty spaces.
In her keynote address at the premiere, Dr Thokozile Chitepo, chairperson of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, showered praises on Daves Guzha for the contribution he has made to the local arts industry.
She urged local practitioners to emulate Guzha and work hard for the development of the industry.
Shabangu complimented his cast for their ability to grasp the lines, some of which are in Swathi, a language none of them speaks.
It is a story about Martha who is tasked to sacrifice her unborn daughter to appease the departed ancestors who still haunt Ten Bush.
She is caught in between since she is barren, but tries to find redemption by ordering her sister to be intimate with her husband.
It comes back to haunt her and with even more grief as she learns that the two had been in a sexual relationship long before her request, triggering a nasty fight between the sisters.
It is the structure and presentation of the play that is striking so much that even though it may not be the best that Theatre in the Park has produced, Zimbabwean practitioners have a lot to learn from it.
The play runs in the Park until November 17.