'The Immigrants' Germany bound

BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean play showing the economic and political meltdown in the run-up to 2008 elections has been adopted by Germany where it will show in Deutsche language.

The Immigrants was written by Bulawayo-based playwright —Thabani Hilary Moyo — who had an impressive local cast when the play premiered in 2012 at the Intwasa festival.

The play has been chosen by popular German group — Theatralise — who will translate The Immigrants into Deutsche.

“My play has been rated as one of the best on the continent by the Germans after it was entered in the African Script Writing competition conducted by Theatralise,” Moyo said.

“What this means is that it will run in German theatres across that country. I understand it will run for a year with the rights and proceeds kept between the writer and the company.”

Moyo, a seasoned high school arts teacher, said the play will have a new cast comprised of German nationals.

The original cast comprised Memory Kumbota, Gift Chakuvinga, Kevin Bhuru, Bathabile Dlamini, Millicent Roberts and Zenzo Nyathi.

“I have been placed as an editorial consultant and a director though I won’t be going there physically,” he said.

Moyo gets a certain percentage per every performance as part of the agreement.

The selection of Moyo’s work is the prize of consistence and determination in the cut throat industry.

“In the end this is what you get and as a director this defines the importance of collaboration in the industry,” Moyo told the Daily News.

The Immigrants is not only entertaining but seductive, poignant, and thought provoking.

It cunningly zooms into Zimbabwean immigrants living in the hub of South Africa, Johannesburg.

The central character, Eddie is a man confused by moral law and the ambiguity of his own sexual feelings. He is confronted by, as in classical tragedy, a situation which he is totally unprepared for.

At the centre of the conflict is Cathy, Eddie’s niece, who is nearing womanhood and about to start a career. Cathy is beautiful and Eddie is very much aware of it.

It is Eddie’s unconscious love for his niece and uncontrollable jealousy that eventually destroys his family.

Eddie practices communal law by accommodating two fellow Zimbabwean illegal immigrants at his apartment in the notorious Hillbrow suburb.

One of the immigrants, Qhubani, is an ordinary hardworking man planning to return to his family in Zimbabwe.

However, his brother, Sifundo, is young and has other plans, particularly of becoming a permanent South African resident. Sifundo is handsome, sings tenor, spends his money on fashion and looks, makes dresses for Cathy and seems not to possess the masculinity acceptable to Eddie.

Sifundo and Cathy fall in love and intend an early marriage. It is at this point that Eddie’s repressed sexuality for Cathy blows to the top.

At the same time his nervous sexual feelings for Sifundo takes the form of bullying and teasing him about his home country, Zimbabwe.

Caught up by lack of self-understanding Eddie becomes xenophobic. He seems not able to resist his attraction to Cathy and acknowledge his marriage to Buhle.

However, what is at stake is not the psychology of sexual turmoil but Eddie’s inability to live up to the obligation of comradeship.

Alfonso is an immigrant Zimbabwean lawyer who partakes in the action but also speaks directly to the audience, sees the inevitability of the two brothers’ betrayal by Eddie.

He also sees the two laws in conflict, the natural law that permits the two lovers to stick together and the South African Immigration law that does not allow Sifundo to be in that country.

Eddie’s adulterous, semi-incestuous drive and inarticulate life is brilliantly written as his bewilderment increases.

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