Attending the final rehearsal of James Ngcobo's The Amen Corner was a perfect way to kick-start my new year. Adapted from the play written by American author James Baldwin, Ngcobo has given the show an African feel.
The time is 8.15pm and the audience is patiently waiting for something to happen. And suddenly The Amen Corner begins. Ngcobo is already sweating, pacing up and down.
Fortunately, his star cast, boasting quality actors such as Baby Cele, Ilse Klink, Boitumelo Bokala, and Sello Sebotsane, give a splendid performance.
The Amen Corner addresses the role of the evangelical churches in the African-American community. It is the story of a young woman - Margaret, played by Klink - who owns a church. She has a son, David, and a sister, Odessa, played by Baby Cele.
She prays every minute she gets just to mask her past and avoid reality. Helping those who are in need gives her a sense of belonging. Sister Margaret tries very hard to portray herself as a saint. One day her past catches up with her, in full view of her congregation. Her long-lost husband, Luke, played by Elton Landrew, comes back home, sick as a dog.
Things just start falling apart around Sister Margaret. She realises that she is not a real Christian but that she just used God to hide her pain.
Once again Ngcobo shines like he did in The Suitcase. However, I feel the scene where Sister Margaret claps his son David was too real. I feel for the young David who will get two fives everyday for the whole month. The Amen Corner officially opened last night at 8pm at the Market Theatre.