By Kundai Marunya
NAMA award winning actress Sandra Chidawanyika-Goliath is set to make her directorial debut in a stage reading of Athol Fugard’s No Good Friday. The play will be staged at Zimbabwe Germany Society (ZGS) on the evening of Saturday 27 June.
The stage reading will be part of Almasi Collaborative Arts series that began some two years ago bringing in various celebrated plays to the ZGS. The audiences attend the reading free of charge as part of the organisation’s commitment to building theatre audiences in Zimbabwe.
Almasi co-founder Patience Tawengwa said Chidawanyika-Goliath’s directorial debut comes as a fruit of a mentorship program they have been running since last year. “Almasi Collaborative Arts has been conducting a nine month Mentor director training program in order to build capacity and develop the skills of Zimbabwean directors.
“The local directors are being mentored by American director and drama teacher Julia Wharton through practical training on several staged readings,” she said. “The program began last year in November and will end next month.”
No Good Friday is a timeless play. Though it is set in South Africa some decades ago – it is clear that same issues faced by black South Africans are being faced by victims beyond its geographical boundaries. Tawengwa said “All the characters of the play are victims of an economic system that demeans and alienates them. The play has all the ingredients of a love story and a tragedy.”
A total of 11 characters are in the play including a passionate musician in his early twenties knocking on doors for the opportunity of a long awaited break, a young woman who realizes that her dream to be married to the love of her life is not to be, and an ageing man dreaming for his child to rescue him from his financial struggles so he can retire with some decency. Speaking about why she chose this particular play for her directorial debut, Chidawanyika said “The story in the play carries with it many themes; love, dreams and murder, but the recurring theme for all the character is choices. To dream big or not to dream at all– very relevant to Zimbabweans anywhere who have for a long time set their eyes on a target which seems unattainable.”
She added that, “Fugard questions the usefulness of perseverance and hope, especially in an economic climate we live in. It challenges you to dare to be different in order to give voice to the voiceless.”
Almasi is a Zimbabwean-American dramatic arts collaborative organization founded by Danai Gurira and Patience Tawengwa. Its vision is to professionalize the dramatic arts industry in Zimbabwe through education, facilitation and collaboration with professional American dramatic artists and artists institutions.