WINDHOEK, 22 APR -The creative barriers faced by writers are similar to a ripple in the canvas of an oil painter; they collapse a bloc of ideas, shatter confidence, and if not substantially addressed, they could plunge the author into an abyss of hopelessness.
Debutant director, veteran actor and seasoned writer, Ashwyn Mberi’s play ‘Tales of Roses in Concrete,’ is perfectly titled to explain the choking effect of the ‘writer’s bloc’ phenomenon.
The first 15 minutes portray a fiction-novelist (Bantu) struggling to formulate realistic ideas, all the while battling his inner demons and vices. An array of wine-bottles overlay Bantu’s office, while a plant-vase is strategically placed at the corner window, harboring rolled sticks of marijuana ready to be torched at a moment’s notice.
A preview of Tales of Roses in Concrete: a play Written and Directed by Ashwyn Mberi (Video Credit: NTN)
Structured on the eve of his deadline, the lack of inspiration is apparent, pressure mounts from his agent and nagging little sister (Trish), while he interviews other artists in a last-ditch attempt to draw parallels from his universe.
In a gripping dialogue, Bantu interviews Nomzamo: a female Editor who is very confident, official in conduct, strong-willed, assertive but internally troubled.
The interview draws from imbalanced gender dynamics in the workplace. It further paints a vivid picture of a determined and driven woman whose influence on the paper she edits is merely a subordinate’s reflection of her superiors’ corrupted ‘only what sells’ vision. The viewer gets the impression she has ‘sold her soul to the devil’ albeit insisting she needs to eat, all the while Bantu bellows unto her the fact she does not enjoy her job.
The Cast features, award winning Actor in Theatre and Film, Ndinomholo Ndilula as Bantu. Kaarina Nambinga and Natasha – who both acted on the NTN stage before – will take on the roles of Linda, Bantu’s ex-lover a very calm and reflective young lady and Nomzamo, respectively.
Newcomers, Charlene Mubita, Fesse Amunyela and Keith Vries will all make their debut as actors. Mubita plays Bantu’s sister, Trish, who possesses the demeanor of an otherwise happy child, very confident, observant and emotionally mature. While the charismatic and charming rapper, Amunyela will play the very outspoken and ‘conscious’ Thabiso Black, a rap artist with a poetic presence.
Vries plays Jonas, Bantu’s Manager, a hustler of note; very confident, commands the room, a fast talker; who is always on the move, always has be somewhere…and forever dressed in a suit!
If the riveting first 15 minutes are anything to go by, then the subsequent scenes should be illuminating and thought provoking to the audience.
The play shows on the 26th & 27th of April 2018, 20h00 at the NTN Backstage and tickets are available at all Computicket outlets nationwide as well as the NTN Box Office at N$50 for general access and N$30 for students and pensioners.