Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Process to Develop the Script

I plan to use the interviews (transcripts & video recordings) from the first phase of this project, the chosen Shakespearian texts & the artists’ research as sourcework to script the multiple stories that surround Sonny’s smuggled copy of the ‘Complete Works.’ I have received a commitment from the Market Theatre Laboratory in Johannesburg for rehearsal space and artists.
My method of working has close resonance with the method that John Kani and Winston Ntshona developed with Athol Fugard in their plays, The Island & Sizwe Banzi is Dead. At the recent reading of The Robben Island Bible, John Kani said, ‘When we created, in 1972, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, we didn't have a script, it was being improvised based on personal experience of what was happening around us and the news that we heard.’
This play needs to be developed in South Africa in order to give audiences in the United States as close to the theatrical ‘truth’ of these stories as possible. We want this play to achieve a ‘truth’ that the artists, the former political prisoners who were interviewed and the audiences will find resonance in. We are very aware of past colonialization by whites in South Africa both in the political and theatrical worlds and want to do everything to avoid even the appearance of another one. This second phase of script development represents the further progression of 8 years of work on this project.