By Chelsea Haith
Void demands an intelligent audience. One that is able to grasp the dystopian world and complex characters director Ameera Najwa Mills and the cast of Void have created. An audience able to make of the diverse aspects of the play whatever they will. There are no answers, the ending is abrupt and it is up to you to fill the void.
Staged at the 41st National Arts Festival, Void tells the story of two characters, Joe and Alex, who inhabit a post-apocalyptic South African space and who fill their respective voids with objects and distrust.
Void was named the Overall Best Production in the Student Awards category and Frankie van Straten was awarded the Best Set Designer in the same category for his work designing the set and incorporating puppetry in the piece.
Joe, a puppet handled by Tyson Ngubeni and Shawn Sankey, is a hoarder. Alex, played by Hana Kelly, is a young woman in search of meaning, drawn to the hope suggested by Joe’s ‘treasure’, a pile of junk. Alex helps Joe to come to terms with the past through her imagination and their relationship, which is characterised by father-daughter interaction and mutual growth.
The experience of the viewer is similar to Joe’s; they must use their imagination to understand their experience. There is an important and interesting paradox in the characters’ internal voids, and their desire to hold their secrets close, to fill themselves with these stories that they cannot yet share.
“We wanted to keep it ambiguous to keep people intrigued. Both of these characters are very protective characters, and in their own world. They are protective of themselves and their secrets. They don’t trust anything or anyone,” Mills explained.
The play is a devised piece, which means that the cast and crew contributed to the formation of the plot. “It kept changing and becoming something else, and we kept pulling it apart and putting it back together,” said Mills.
The setting is post-apocalyptic, which Mills explained is not a political statement, but rather a comment on environmental issues.
When: Thursday 30 July
Where: Rhodes Theatre
Ticket Price: R40 Public l R25 Students/Learners l R20 Block
Tickets available from Theatre Administrator (Room 107) l 09h00 – 13h00
weekdays & At the Door