Asanda Rhilityana, Warona, and Siphokazi Mpofu (left to right)
This is why we love the fringe. Singing to give you goosebumps, enviable ensemble connectivity, and puppets in the style of Handspring. Well, that’s because the Ukwanda Puppets and Designs Collective was founded by several former members of the Handspring Puppet Company. To whoever sculpted the dog puppets in Warona, we thank you.
Yes, there were a couple rough edges in the performance. Opening show growing pains perhaps. But like the chunks of (prop) meat at the butchers, this just enhances the rawness of the story they’re telling. Violence, being abandoned by the government, marginalised by the police, ignored by the privileged… a story of desperate vigilantism to rid their forgotten community of drug addiction. None of this is a shiny affair.
Although schoolgirl Warona’s story starts with dreams and hopes, this work about the streets of a fictional informal settlement, KwaNjandini, has no happy ending. You’ll find no glimmer of a tidy resolution here. No “see things aren’t that bad, she made it out, there’s hope”. Niks. It’s real and harsh and it’s got grit.
The next show is on 04 July at 16.30. Details & bookings: click here.
The Ukwanda company won a Standard Bank Ovation Encore Award back in 2015, and Warona is directed by Thando Doni whose work we’ve been impressed by before (read here).