By David Mann
Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company put on their new play, The Dogs Must Be Crazy, in Grahamstown recently and the shows were met with great enthusiasm by all that attended.
The piece, which has been in the works for about five to six weeks was a look at contemporary, socio-political life through the eyes of dogs, playing on their interactions and how they pine for love despite mistreatment and abuse by society.
“We shine a satirical light on these aspects of human life in this crazy, beautiful, mixed-up country of ours,” says director of the play, Rob Murray.
The play was based on Mike van Graan’s original concept which was set in 1991 and which dealt with issues such as the struggle towards democracy and the transition to the new South Africa. Ubom! has modernised the play so that it addresses current issues such as poverty, alcoholism and drug addiction, as well as BEE, RDP housing and domestic violence.
The Ubom! team “looked for narrative arcs that could contain the socio-political references, without them just being placed there. Non-verbal theatre has come a long way since those days, and our version acknowledges that” said Murray.
The shows took place on 25 and 26 April (Wednesday and Thursday), and the Ubom! team could be seen running around campus and barking at students to promote the play. The result was that the shows had great attendances with Thursday night’s show being sold out.
The shows captured the audience with the unique and lovable personalities of each character, and by highlighting all the positive and negative issues that we face as South Africans.
Murray said that the audience will come to care about the characters and identify with “situations, pressures, and absurdities that they go through. So, having experienced the dogs’ stories, they will hopefully think about their own lives some more”.
The show also celebrates Ubom!’s 10th year in business and they will be performing it at HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) in May.
Murray is particularly excited for HIFA and said that “it’s a really great festival to be at. And it will be a world-changing experience for the performers”.
The Dogs Must Be Crazy was a huge success here in Grahamstown and is certain to be a hit in Harare, so let’s wish Ubom! the best of luck for HIFA and hope that their audiences will be as enthusiastic as we were.Share