SA stars for Soyinka play

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Top television and stage actors Sello Maake ka Ncube, Nthati Moshesh, Warona Seana and Fezile Mpela are set to star in leading roles at the State Theatre in Pretoria when they appear in Wole Soyinka's play, The Lion and the Jewel.

The production of celebrated Nigerian and widely celebrated novelist and playwright' s play is directed by multi-award-winning and increasingly influential director James Ngcobo of The Suitcase fame .

"I feel honoured to be featured in a play of Wole Soyinka's calibre, a Nobel Prize for Literature winner. I also feel happy to be working with James Ngcobo, who believes strongly in Afrocentric plays as compared to Eurocentric productions. We started acting together and now he is honing skills," Moshesh said.

Ncube described Ngcobo's directing as "mind-blowing" and praised Soyinka's command of the English language as "elevating".

"This play is a joy and gives a new taste of Shakespeare. Soyinka elevates African idioms. As for James Ngcobo, the way he visualises scenes is mind-blowing. He is doing extremely well," Ncube told Sowetan yesterday.

The play is set in the village of Ilujinle in Nigeria and deals with the cultural dynamics of a young man who emulates modern European notions as he experienced in Lagos. It is a simple fable drawn from African village life, and falls within a long tradition of storytelling accompanied by song and dance and a percussion group.

The play opens on December 8.