Daphne Kuhn has produced yet another relevant and diverse play for audiences at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square with the blue collar comedy Call Us Crazy.
The “crazy” began with one of the many characters played by Marietjie Bothma asking the lady next to me if she would like to buy a banana for R10… because we were in Sandton!
The “crazy” then took us on the journey of Vuka! Africa Road and Paving Construction Company, consisting of multiple montages deconstructing our beloved Rainbow Nation and all the bribery and corruption that comes with it. This journey was cleverly woven together by playwright Josias Dos Moleele, who also directed and acted in the piece as characters like “Half-and-Half”, “Tiny”, and a number of tarless and disgruntled audience members. Sello Sebotsane, our disillusioned construction worker “Oompie” has an undeniable presence and energy on stage that keeps you fixated from start to finish.
I couldn’t help but feel the influence of great South African productions like Woza Albert! where the use of ideophones, stereotypes, and transitions highlights the versatility and skills of the actors on stage. Also the Brechtian techniques in the lighting, spass and breaking of the 4th wall were instrumental in engaging the audience with the underlying subject matter. The set, which looks like a construction site with its orange cones, reflective vests, and traffic signs was utilised to the fullest by the performers – often employing the props in the most Grotowskian way possible.
The metaphor of tarring of the road with “black on white” versus “white on black” was an enlightened social commentary and the highlight of the show for me. Half-and-Half struggles with this concept and prefers to tar the way forward “grey”.
There is no denying the chemistry between Moleele and Sebotsane that is wonderfully complemented by Bothma. It is high-energy from start to finish and just a load of fun. I would highly recommend this production as we are a country that needs to laugh to heal and to tar the way forward!
So go ahead and call them crazy – but go see the show first!
Call Us Crazy is on at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square from 18 June – 6 July. Tickets available through Computicket or the theatre directly.