The lies that women tell
THIS latest work by Julian Seleke-Mokoto, who is best remembered for his raunchy tragi-comedy, Money Maker, is an intriguing account of vain longing, fantasy and betrayal.
A fast-paced four-hander, the play narrates the life of the loneliness of one woman, who hides her empty love life from three dear friends, who all think that she has found a hunk that she has elaborately drawn on canvas.
Each of her friends believe that the man of her dreams is to die for and they cannot wait to see her live with her beau.
Unbeknown to them, the much sought-after man lives only in her dreams.
In She Died Dreaming, Nomsa Buthelezi, best known for her outrageous portrayals in commercials and mature roles in soapies, including SABC1's Abo Mzala and SABC2's Muvhango, plays the truly-lonesome Hilda, who seems materially and financially secure, but who pines after male companionship.
Seemingly a part-time painter and a full-time air hostess, Hilda chooses, nay, decides to put on canvas a fantastic "better half". And the image has her air hostess colleagues drooling with envy and lust.
Seleke-Mokoto has created productions such as Shattered Dreams, Mary the Unfaithful Woman, Blind Mind, The Last Mile, Tapping Hearts and The Cause. He is a winner of two FNB Vita Awards.
When the lies overwhelm her, Hilda takes her own life, leaving a note that reveals her tragic double life.
Running along Hilda's story are the other women's secret love lives and man-related secrets and stories. The women are also wealthy, but lonely, except for Promise, the wedding planner, who is played by Busisiwe Mambi.
Promise is happily married to her "darling", Sipho Makhubo, who does everything a "lazy woman" can hope for in a man.
He cooks for her, makes the bed does the laundry and so on. But not all that she tells her friends is always true.
As for Anathi, played by Phindile Xaba, and Grace, played by Molobane Mbatha, they have their views about men.
Grace believes that "men are creatures who bonk everything that moves".
Who can blame Grace?
About her eight-year-old marriage, she says: "That man has apparently slept with every woman in town, yet none of them are pregnant.
"And whenever I suggest that we consult a doctor, he says we should put our faith in God."
Anathi's tales of love are just too sad to listen to. As an avid motorbike rider, she is out to find love on a Harley Davidson.
After a steamy, yet short-lived tryst, Anathi is left with only tender memories, when her lover dies after a sumptuous dinner.
She Died Dreaming has multiple layers of messages such as; a woman cannot marry herself, let alone buy herself a wedding dress and love is never enough and to desire all the qualities in one man is a weakness of most women.
The most glaring downside to She Died Dreaming is plausibility. If Hilda is a painter, then why does she not dress appropriately? If Anathi is a biker, why does she not dress like one?
If the director wishes to reach a wider audience, why is the dialogue mostly in vernacular?
And with such racy language, gesticulations and acting, why does the play not have an age restriction?
However, She Died Dreaming makes up for most defects with bundles of energy and humour.
- Venue: Windybrow Theatre