Protest premieres in SandtonTheatre on the Square
The South African premiere of the play Protest will be staged at Old Mutual Theatre on the Square in Sandton for one night only on 16 September at 18:00.
It is presented by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in association with the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa and Václav Havel Library.
Protest is written by Václav Havel, former Czech President and performed by Rooftop Promotions starring David Guzha and O’Brian Mudyiwenyama.
Playwright and former Czech (Czechoslovak) President Václav Havel, a Nobel Peace Prize candidate, has on numerous occasions resembled in many aspects Nelson Mandela. Havel, like Mandela, was a political prisoner and dissident and became an iconic fighter for freedom, human rights and democracy during the hard years of the Cold War.
This presentation of Havel’s play Protest is the first dramatic performance of any of Havel’s works in the Republic of South Africa. It will be performed in a unique artistic style by a renowned Zimbabwean company, Rooftop Promotions, which arguably is Zimbabwe’s leading theatre and film institution.
Protest is a story of two men, namely Mr Vanìk and Mr Stanìk. Mr Vanìk is a protest artist who, like Havel, suffers imprisonment by the totalitarian authorities for his work. By contrast, Mr Stanìk is a compromising playwright who gets promoted by the despotic regime because he puts a positive spin on the difficulties his countrymen are facing. Questions of loyalty and betrayal come to the fore. At the end of the day there are only individual victories. When an individual is pressed to the extreme, he settles for a private self-fulfilment and self-preservation rather than for national victory. Havel’s Protest demonstrates how the restrictions of freedom of speech and thought spread conformity across all members of society while slowly eroding basic humanity.
The performance was originally conceived as a tribute to Mr Havel, one of the most prominent living freedom activist icons in the world. Sadly, Mr Havel did not live to see the premiere of his play in South Africa, since he passed away in December 2011. Performing Protest thus becomes an occasion of recalling a unique personality and a man of noble and distinctive thoughts, who should not be forgotten.
Bookings can be made by calling the theatre’s box office of 011 883 8606 or by booking through Strictly Tickets online: www.ticket.co.za or tel 082 553 5903.
Notes for the Editors:
The mission of the Zimbabwean company Rooftop Promotions is to promote and develop artistic initiatives that will influence policy through community mobilization and publicity of topical issues that will simultaneously promote freedom of expression. The character of Mr Stanìk is performed by Daves Guzha, who remains attracted to indigenous Zimbabwean and African performance styles, drawn from satire, ritual and story-telling traditions. He has developed a distinct ethos and richly varied aesthetic African-centred system that also incorporates elements of activism, civic education and dialogue. He is a regionally and internationally celebrated artist.
DAVES GUZHA leading Arts Management
Daves is an actor and after his training; nobody could give him a job. This motivated him to start Rooftop Promotions, where he became a producer by default. He is a regionally as well as internationally acclaimed actor, director and producer. In Zimbabwe, he is considered a theatre maestro. During the polarisation period of theatre in Zimbabwe, Daves set up Theatre In The Park in 1995, Zimbabwe’s smallest and busiest theatre, which over the years has produced remarkable Zimbabwean talent, run workshops and entertained works from as far afield as Burkina Faso, Norway, Sweden, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa etc. Daves has performed in some of the best stages in the world, Edinburgh Festival (Assembly Rooms), National Theatre of Norway, Market Theatre, Stockholm Stadsteater, Zambia, Tanzania, Spain, Portugal etc.
O’Brian, who performs the character of Mr Vanìk, is the Director of the film production house Fine Line Media that is well known for producing insightful developmental films, documentaries and television productions. His theatrical works include Ganyau Express, Uplifting Affairs, Power of Prayer, Ten Years from Now, The People, Ghetto Super Stars, Madam Speaker Sir and the critically acclaimed political satire Super Patriots and Morons which toured extensively across Africa and Europe.
For further info please call Radek Nedved, Head of Consular and Cultural Sections, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Pretoria on 012 431 2380 or Daphne Kuhn or Mika Stefano on 011 883 8606 for general enquiries, bookings and interviews.
Old Mutual Theatre on the Square
011 883 8606
011 883 9673 (fax)
Auto & General Theatre on the Square., West Street Sandown Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa