Alumni take flight in When Swallows Cry

Alumni take flight in When Swallows Cry

16 Feb 2018 - 15:00
When Swallows cry
(From left) Associate Professor Mike van Graan, Martin Kintu, Lesedi Job, Mbulelo Grootboom and Kai Luke Brümmer.

Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Bronwyn Lloyd.

Two UCT alumni star in a poignant exploration of migration and dislocation in When Swallows Cry, the new piece penned by celebrated playwright and UCT Honorary Professor of Drama Mike van Graan.

Martin Kintu performs alongside fellow alumnus Kai Luke Brümmer in this hard-hitting trilogy of playlets, which explore the complexities of contemporary global mobility from African perspectives.

The play weaves between three scenarios set in Africa, or about African migrants and refugees. There is a Somalian businessman who, having fled xenophobic violence in South Africa, travels to the US; two Zimbabweans in an Australian refugee centre; and a Canadian teacher held for ransom by bandits in West Africa.

Kintu and Brümmer appear alongside Mbulelo Grootboom. Under the direction of Lesedi Job, each of the trio is challenged to play three contrasting characters in three interspliced stories with international significance.

An international affair

Van Graan was one of several playwrights commissioned by Norwegian theatre company Ibsen International to produce work that speaks to migration and refugees, a theme that has taken on political importance on the global stage.

Van Graan and the other playwrights – from Europe, China, America and Russia - met in three Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou) over the course of 2015 and 2016.

The collective worked to develop their scripts with dramaturges from Norway, Italy and Slovenia; actors from China; and directors from Hong Kong, Germany and Norway.

When Swallows Cry runs at the Baxter Flipside until Saturday, 24 February.

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