The Inconvenience of Wings – ‘close to the bone’

Acclaimed writer and director Lara Foot’s award-winning play, The Inconvenience of Wings, is now on at the Market Theatre.

The inconvenience of wings
Andrew Buckland, Jennifer Steyn, Mncedisi Shabangu in The Inconvenience of Wings.

Following its sold-out success at the National Arts Festival and the Baxter Theatre Centre last year, Lara Foot’s award-winning latest play, The Inconvenience of Wings, makes its Johannesburg premiere at the Market Theatre until 16 July, on Tuesdays to Sundays. Earlier this year the play received the coveted Fleur du Cap awards for Best Director (Lara Foot), Best Actor (Andrew Buckland) and Best Actress (Jennifer Steyn). Foot, the 2016 National Arts Festival Featured Artist and a former Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, has assembled a stellar cast and creative team comprising Jennifer Steyn, Andrew Buckland and Mncedisi Shabangu. Set in a landscape of memory and dreams, The Inconvenience of Wings, tackles the issues of friendship, dysfunction, addiction and angels. Sara (Steyn) has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; she is compulsive, alive and hates women who know how to make cupcakes. Paul (Buckland), her husband, is on a mission to find a cure for her afflictions and Professor James (Shabangu) quietly tries to save Paul from the inconvenience of his wings. The play is, at its heart, a love story, which makes for compelling viewing with burning contemporary themes such as bipolar disorder and compulsion and its devastating effect on the family. It cuts close to the bone for anyone who has suffered mental illness themselves, or has lived with someone who is afflicted.

The inconvenience of wings
Andrew Buckland and Jennifer Steyn in Lara Foot’s The Inconvenience of Wings.

The media and audiences raved about the production. John Maytham from Cape Talk gave it a glowing thumbs up, saying, “If there is a better piece of theatre at the Festival, please lead me to it … It is a piece that no serious theatre lover should miss … Be there, and tot up the number of awards for which it will be nominated, most of which it will win. It’s that good.” Steve Kretzmann from Critter was equally encouraging referring to it as “… masterful direction” and “… the casts’ acutely magnificent performance … an engrossing, consummate performance…” Further praise came from Tony Jackman for the Daily Maverick who said, “Again, I take my hat off to Foot. She gets it, she truly, deeply, gets it across in this most excellent play … once you get into the meat of the story it grips you and takes you all the way.” Maria Malan from Die Burger called it “… amazing theatre” and Dylan Stewart for Cue Media wrote, “This world premiere is another badge of honour for Foot. It confirms her reputation as a gifted playwright who makes unapologetic theatre with global import.” This powerful and poignant new drama was inspired by author Abraham J Twerski`s book Addictive Thinking that examines the notion of compulsion, addiction, denial and abuse of self as well as conversations on bipolar disorder that Foot had with celebrated psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann. It was further stirred by her father who has suffered from dementia for more than a decade.

The inconvenience of wings
Jennifer Steyn, Mncesibisi Shabangu and Andrew Buckland in The Inconvenience of Wings.

This production also celebrates Foot’s illustrious history of collaborating with Buckland (Betrayal, The Well Being and Scrooge) and Shabangu (Tshepang and Fishers of Hope). It marks her first journey with Jennifer Steyn, who was the 2014 Fleur du Cap award winner for The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore and who was recently seen at the Baxter in A Doll’s House. Most recently Andrew Buckland was seen in Tobacco, And the Harmful Effects Thereof and Mncedisi Shabangu in Sizwe Banzi is Dead. Lara once again teams up with the award-winning set designer Patrick Curtis and lighting designer Mannie Manim, with whom she shared success for Solomon and Marion. Other collaborations with Curtis include Remembering the Lux, Fishers of Hope, Betrayal, Karoo Moose and Scrooge. Composition and sound design is by Philip Miller, choreography is by Grant van Ster and costume design by Birrie le Roux. Lara is the CEO and artistic director of the Baxter Theatre Centre and a former Rolex protégé to Sir Peter Hall in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She has become known and respected for her own hard-hitting plays, which sensitively and creatively, tackle social issues in South Africa and for which she has won several awards. The Inconvenience of Wings runs at the Mannie Manim at the Market Theatre until 16 July with evening performances at 20h15 and matinee performances at 15h00. There is an age restriction of 16 (Nudity and Language).

Booking is through Webtickets, online at www.webtickets.co.za or in-store at any Pick n Pay outlet. For further media enquiries, interview or picture requests please contact Fahiem Stellenboom on 021 680 3971 e-mail fahiem.stellenboom@uct.ac.za or cell 072 265 6023.

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