PE Opera House ‘Truck Driver’ making history

Neo Bodumela

IN A first for Nelson Mandela Bay theatre, a play born out of the PE Opera House will take one of the main stages at this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

National and international doyenne of TV and theatre Nomhle Nkonyeni, together with award-winning scriptwriter Zwai Mgijima will stage three performances of the PE Opera House show Truck Driver at this year’s festival.

Director of the play Nkonyeni, with nearly 50 years of experience in international and national theatre, as well as screen acting, has assembled a cast of exclusively Eastern Cape-based actors.

She said the play – which centres around issues like infidelity and love – tackles tough subjects that are not openly talked about in society. “The rehearsals have been going very well and we are quite happy with how things are going at the moment.

“Without really giving away much of the plot, issues like infidelity will be discussed in the play. It is for exactly the reason that people are reluctant to talk about these issues that we have decided to put them in the play.

“We decided to play around with and discuss these issues because we want to talk about things that people deem unspeakable,” she said.

Nkonyeni said being part of the main programme at the festival was an achievement for a Port Elizabeth-based play.

“We were invited to participate in the festival because we have never had any previous participation in it.

“We really have had little to no resources and now that we have them, there are great things that we can do.

“It is because of the engagement of the Opera House with people outside that we can see that the arts in Port Elizabeth are being taken forward. I think we can really pride ourselves as the arts community in what we have achieved with this,” she said.

The show will be held at the Masonic Hall in Grahamstown on June 27 at 4pm, June 28 at 12 noon, and June 30 at 6pm. Tickets cost R40 per person and R30 for students.

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