The Playhouse Company revives SA classic drama, “How Long”

After an absence of many years, Gibson Kente’s classic drama, How Long, returns to the South African stage as part of Africa Month, in a prestigious new production presented by Durban’s Playhouse Company.

     Exciting news for theatre-goers! The Playhouse Company, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, is presenting Gibson Kent’s legendary musical play, How Long, which is to be staged in the Playhouse Opera from 2 to 27 May 2018.
     One of South Africa’s most ground-breaking theatre pieces, this landmark work was last seen 45 years ago. A melodramatic musical play with political undertones in Gibson Kente‘s famous township theatre style, How Long is based on the death of Khulu, a helpless grandmother, through brutal police action under apartheid bureaucracy.
     Part of a trilogy of the only political plays by Kente, the work was written and last performed in 1973 before it was banned. Directed for The Playhouse Company by Duma Ndlovu, with choreography by Somizi Mhlongo, the new production of How Long features a stellar cast, including, among others: Thembi Mtshali, Phindile Gwala, Khaya Dladla, Mondli Makhoba, and Nqobile Ndlovu.
Joburg Theatre     “It is fitting, as we salute Africa Month, that we honour the memory of Gibson Kente, who is widely hailed as ‘the father of South African Theatre,” said Linda Bukhosini, The Playhouse Company’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director.
     “Gibson Kente was a man who generously shared his wisdom and theatre expertise with younger actors privileged to work under him,” Ms Bukhosini continued. “In this regard he helped launch the careers of South African icons such as Darlington Michaels, Sello Maake KaNcube and Mbongeni Ngema.”
     “The Playhouse Company is indeed proud to have assembled a stellar cast of our finest actors, to bring Baba Kente’s long neglected masterpiece, How Long, back to life under the direction of theatre luminary, Duma Ndlovu.”
     Heading the cast of How Long, actress Tembi Mtshali is a revered leading lady of the South African stage and screen. A Lifetime Achievement honoree at the 2017 Naledi Awards ceremony in Johannesburg, Ms Mtshali-Jones commands a fan base of thousands through her creations of many memorable persona in the entertainment world over the years. She first became a household name with the popular comedy, Sgudi Snaysi, and most recently appeared in the drama series, Broken Vows on e.tv.
    While popular TV actor Khaya Dladla’s wide-spread celebrity status has earned him off-screen popularity as one of the most popular emcees in the business, actress Phindile Gwala – self-proclaimed “African queen”- is best known for her starring role as Nonny on the soap opera Muvhango. The glamorous, Eshowe-born star graduated from university with a degree in business management before her rise to fame in show biz circles. Another famed new-generation TV star, Uzalo’s actor-dancer, Mondli Makhoba brings his own pulling power to the cast of How Long.
     Another noted young actress in TV circles is Nqobile Ndlovu, best known for her starring role as Nobuhle Zungu in the SABC1 drama series Ingozi, which was created by Duma Ndlovu. Nobuhle was also a member of the choir in Duma Ndlovu’s SABC1 soap opera Uzalo; and in his stage production The Game, set in a female prison.
     Also featuring on the distinguished cast list of How Long are rising young stars-in-making, Mduduzi Nombela, Nokubonga Khuzwayo, Mlamli Ningiza and Lungelo Ndlovu.
     Aside from its powerhouse cast of actors, How Long boasts the vibrant live musical backing of a 15 piece orchestra. Show times for this not-to-be-missed production are 19:00 Tuesday’s to Fridays, 14:00 and 19:00 Saturdays, and 14:00 Sundays. Tickets range from R100 to R150. Book now at Computicket.