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The past comes back award-winning play

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By Latoya Newman

Wiseman Mncube is all set to stage his award-winning play The Weeping Candle at The Stable Theatre this weekend.

The play, which scooped the best production and best script awards at Khaya Multi-Art Centre in KwaMashu during the isiGcawu Festival last November, is about the past coming back to haunt you.

According to its plot, The Weeping Candle depicts a “shebeen queen” who sees a young man strolling around her shebeen after hours. The man insists on having two beers after a hectic game he’s just played. Is he there to have the beer? Why has he come in at that time, since he knows she is closed? What unfolds is a complex story that reveals the inten- tions of the young.

Writer-director Mncube said he started writing the drama at the beginning of last year.

“When I heard about the isiGcawu Festival I decided to use it as a platform to test the play out. I didn’t expect to win any of the awards,” he explained.

Mncube said his play was loosely based on what he saw growing up in the township of KwaMashu.

“We would see these kinds of things happen often and I thought to write about it to let people know what’s going on out there.”

When he performed at The Playhouse Company’s Community Arts Festival last year Mncube saw Nompilo Maphumulu performing in the monologue The Serpent’s Tail, for which she won the best actress award.

“I immediately spoke to her and asked if she would do my play and she was interested. I immediately knew who I wanted to replace me, because initially I was supposed to act in the play, but I knew Musa Ntuli well and I knew he was the one.”

Mncube was voted best actor and also won the Standing Ovation Award for his performance in Samson Mlambo’s one-hander, Meet Bra 62, at Durban’s 2012 Musho Festival.

Other stage credits last year included performing in Horn of Sorrow at the Hilton Arts Festival and in Musa Hlatswayo’s dance piece, Zulu no Qwabe, at The Playhouse. He was voted best newcomer at last year’s Mercury Durban Theatre Awards.

Performances of The Weeping Candle are on on March 1, 2 and 3 at The Stable Theatre at 6pm. Tickets cost R45. Book through Computicket.

The Weeping Candle is not for people under 16 years of age.

The play is then scheduled to stage on the Fringe of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

It is also likely to do a schools tour due to its educational content.

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