Two new one-person shows present humorous but thought-provoking theatre

It all started with the folk tales, the songs and dances of our African forefathers. They sat around a fire, listening to the matriarch of the family telling stories of mythical creatures, the animal kingdom, teaching songs of their ancestors and dances to appease their gods. 

These facets of traditional theatre still play a role in the evolution of South African theatre. The theatre scene has grown from allegories told around the fire by our ancestors to today’s modern productions. 

From now until 11 June, MVG Productions & Theatre on the Square will present two new plays, The New Abnormal and Country Duty by award-winning playwright Mike van Graan. He wrote critically acclaimed plays such as Green Man Flashing, Pay Back the Curry, State Fracture, Land Acts and Return of the Ancestors, which is up for a Naledi Theatre Award in the Best New Script category. This adds to his previous seven nominations in this category. 

The New Abnormal is a scathingly humorous commentary about South Africa’s pandemics both real and metaphorical. And, Country Duty highlights the many trials and few triumphs of the country’s heroic whistleblowers. Television actor Khutjo Green directs The New Abnormal while stage veteran and one of South Africa’s finest performers, Fiona Ramsay, directs Country Duty. 

It’s fitting that these plays run over youth month, because The New Abnormal introduces 23-year-old AFDA graduate Nhlanhla Shabangu to theatre audiences. This script uses the Covid-19 pandemic as a springboard for humorous catharsis for a public that is going through a lot.

Both The New Abnormal and Country Duty are one-person shows. 

A one-person show relies on a strong characterisation and a bold performer. It shows theatre at its most intimate and demonstrates a true, raw and genuine connection between the story, the performer and the audience. This amplifies the message of the play. It’s a true work of art. 

“Our audience can expect exciting performances that reflect South Africa’s current state. The plays encompass great humour and entertainment but they also touch on real thought-provoking issues that will have you reflecting,” says Daphne Kuhn, co-producer and owner of Theatre on the Square.  

The pandemic restrictions placed great pressure on the industry, causing it to remain inactive for what seems like a lifetime. Seeing performers and playwrights coming back to the theatre is exciting.

Bookings to watch The New Abnormal and Country Duty can be made online through Computicket on or by calling the theatre on 083 377 4969 or 011 883-8606. The ticket price is R180 but there are discounts for seniors, students and for group bookings. Seats are unreserved so you’re welcome just rock up without pre-booking.

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Dimpho Masopha
Dimpho Masopha is a copywriter with six years of business to brand, and business to business copywriting experience. Dimpho aims to be one of the industry’s best editorial strategists.

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