Quality back at Market

CITY BECKONS: Nqobile Sepamla and Siyabonga Twala in 'The Suitcase'. © Sowetan.
CITY BECKONS: Nqobile Sepamla and Siyabonga Twala in 'The Suitcase'. © Sowetan.

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

After its successful season last year, The Suitcase is back at the Market Theatre.

Adapted and directed by James Ngcobo from the short story by Es'kia Mphahlele, the show premiered at the Grahamstown arts festival last year and was well received.

Late last year it had a season at the Market, where it was praised for its quality. It was named the Market Theatre's best-selling show of last year, with an estimated 83percent attendance. It is opening on January 24.

Malcom Purkey, the Market Theatre's artistic director, said: "The return of The Suitcase is, in a way, helping to advance the life of new stage works and honouring new directors."

Purkey said this could be the last chance for theatregoers to see the production on South African soil because there is international interest in it and a worldwide tour is possible.

The Suitcase, set in the 1950s and based on an actual event, tells the story of a young rural couple who, in spite of family disapproval of their marriage, leave for the city, intending to return wealthy and immune from social censure.

The pressures of the city, unemployment and poverty strip away the husband's self-esteem and he starts to lose his moral compass. He is so desperate to provide for his pregnant wife that he steals a suitcase left on a bus. This action has frightening consequences, dramatic turns and unexpected twists.

The Suitcase features top actors including Siyabonga Twala, Nqobile Sepamla, Mncedisi Shabangu and John Lata.