New play takes audience on journey underground

Mandla Ncube and Michael Kudakwashe in Great Escape. 

Theatre at the Mannenberg moves into high gear this month with a Scorpion Theatre production – Great Escape by Andrew Whaley, directed by Ian White and featuring renowned actors Michael Kudakwashe and Mandla Moyo.

Much has been said about Zimbabwe’s special brand of gallows’ humour that says more about social reality, sense of identity and life than any erudite political commentary. Playwright Andrew Whaley has a pedigree in plays that capture the tortuous turning points in Zimbabwe’s history (Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco, Nyoka Tree, Platform 5).

Great Escape, a surreal journey through one kind of Zimbabwean subconscious, is funny, thrillingly told and strangely haunting.

A mob of angry mourners pursues Osborn at Jay-Jay’s unexpected burial, and it is Memory who leads them to their destination, underground through the catacombs.

A fantastical creation, a machine, has instruments and calibrations to tunnel them to their promised land, providing it can be so compelled. Truth is warped beneath the rubble of lives and graveyards. Osborn and Memory take the low road to make their escape.

Is their magical journey an encounter where nobody escapes who they are, what they’ve done? Be brave. Sit tight. Put on your goggles. Set the moral compass and descend into the bowels of the earth.

Great Escape is set for its premiere at Harare’s Mannenberg Jazz Club on June 7 (opening night), and then from June 10 to 13 at 6pm.


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