HOLY CONTRACT is an independent and interdisciplinary theatre production, which interrogates the relationship between choice, fate and chance. Brought to life in the township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, it tells the story of a man torn between life and death.
HOLY CONTRACT, the culmination of a collaboration between Urban-Think Tank, a multidisciplinary design and research team based in Zürich, and Theatre4Change, a non-profit theatre group working in Khayelitsha, is set against the backdrop of South Africa’s contemporary urban challenges.
Inspired by the late poet and musician, Gil Scott-Heron, the performance tackles themes around social justice and identity politics. Dialogue switches between Xhosa and English, as the protagonist faces tensions in a dream-like reality. His frustrations, ethical conflicts and resilient sense of hope are almost tangible as he journeys to overcome fate.
The play is scripted as an existential tragedy with a circular narrative that follows the protagonist, Khaya, as he tries to find his way home. Circumstance, though, guides and restricts, twisting him between a fractured social system, daily risks, and the human quest for hope.
The script was written during a series of workshops run with the actors in Khayelitsha. Scott-Heron’s work, which often built upon parallels between racial oppression in the United States and South Africa’s Apartheid regime, played a key role during the project’s inception, with the existing poetry informing and inspiring the creation of new material.
Key to the production’s success is in its ability to promote inclusivity and accessibility. Staying true to this aim, the theatre piece is planned to be performed at Makukhanye (meaning ‘let there be light’) Art Room, an arts and culture centre in Khayelitsha. This is where the play was work-shopped, and where the show will debut at the beginning of October.
Performances will also be included on the Cape Town Fringe Festival’s programme, and held at Cape Town’s City Hall on 5th, 7th and 8th October, and at Guga S’Thebe in Langa on 4th and 6th October. The use of different locations is intended to bring diverse audiences into the setting from where the stories originate.
HOLY CONTRACT joins magic with the mundane; reality and fiction merge to present an experimental production. Everyday objects and depictions of daily life are presented in parallel to a spiritual and mystical undertone, crafting a world of circumstance and doom.
3 Venues, 8 Shows
Makukhanye Art Room, Khayelitsha
1 October – 14:00 & 17:00
2 October – 15:00
Guga S’Thebe Theatre, Langa
4 October – 18:00
6 October – 18:00
Cape Town City Hall, CBD
5 October – 20:00
7 October – 18:00
8 October – 16:00
Tickets for Makukhanye Art Room available at the door (paid in cash) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for preorder! R50 only!
Tickets for Guga S’Thebe and City Hall available at https://capetownfringe.co.za/events/holy-contract/. Book now, limited seats available.