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Rhodes University gets The Treatment


By Smangaliso Ngwenya

The Rhodes University Drama Department will soon play host to Martin Crimp’s ‘The Treatment’, a play that takes a look at the unforgiving New York film society, directed by Liz Mills.

Fittingly set in downtown New York, ‘The Treatment’ touches on the film industry and how certain works are treated within it. Crimp uses this bristling urban narrative to explore art, its power to shape meaning, its social construction and ultimately its validation only through commercial success.  Furthermore, ‘The Treatment’ refers to the sombre concept of medical treatment and lastly refers to how society treats one another. All of these meanings are intelligently juxtaposed and infused in Crimp’s play.

“He is, in my view, one of the best contemporary writers. His writing is clean and spare and he evokes a compelling and confronting world through words,” said Mills.

A true reflection of Crimp’s acute awareness of the power of the word is the title of the play that has within it, embedded meanings alluding to the play’s contents.

“The play is full of energy, it has humour and great moments of social satire but it also examines the darker side of humanity,” said Mills. She also revealed that the play will touch on the theme of what is real and what is not real, a theme that will keep the audience enthralled.

At the centre of Crimp’s play lies the life story of a young woman, Anne, who offers her story to two film producers as an idea for a new film. This then initiates the process of life becoming art and thus blurring the boundaries between that which is real and that which is not real. This relation created by Crimp between the real and the unreal results in ‘The Big Apple’ being consumed by the omnipresent real-unreal theme in ‘The Treatment’.

Crimp’s play encompasses a variety of people: those who are part of the movie industry, those part of celebrity culture all enmeshed with the culture that the youth finds extensively attractive, presenting it in the most seductive form while also exposing the hidden depths.

The cast has gone through an intensive four week rehearsal process to entirely embody Crimp’s characters and grasp the meta-theatrical nature of his play. Mills revealed that the play will have “dialogue that bristles with energy; commentary on art; fast moving action and a degree of delightful parody”.

‘The Treatment’ is sure to supply audiences with multiple enriching treats bound to get you mentally and creatively engaged with the play.

‘The Treatment’ will be performed at The Rhodes Box Theatre at 7:30pm on Thursday, 27 March, Friday, 28 March and Saturday, 29 March.

Tickets are available at the Theatre Cafe, R40 for Public and R25 for Students.

Block bookings can be organised with Theatre Administrator Prarochna Rama who can be emailed at p.rama@ru.ac.za.

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