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Dark Cell: the mind is the worst prison a man can ever be in

Dark Cell features two Standard Bank Young Artist Award recipients for Dance, Themba Mbuli, Fana Tshabalala and Thulani Chauke, who join forces to reimagine Mbuli’s Dark Cellwhich has already toured 10 countries and 15 cities.

Dark Cell Market Theatre
PHOTO Brett Rubin

Dark Cell draws its inspiration and metaphors from imagery of political prisoners on Robben Island. This theatrical dance work uses the concept of a prison cell as a metaphor for mental imprisonment. While celebrating and commemorating South African History, the piece is also embedded in the past as a mirror of contemporary society and reflection of postcolonial interiorities.
     Mbuli’s 2012 solo creation Dark Cell, was a response to Dark City, which draws its inspiration from images of political prisoners on Robben Island to explore issues around mental imprisonment – what Mbuli calls “the worst prison that any man can ever be in”. The work has since been performed at several festivals in South Africa, including the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2014, and has toured Sweden, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia the Netherlands and the UK.
     Mbuli is an associate project manager and a co-founder – together with Tshabalala and Chauke – of Broken Borders Arts Project. He is also a co-founder and the choreographer and managing director of the Unmute Dance Company, which was formed in 2014 to help pioneer integrated dance in South Africa, using the arts to inspire the inclusion of people with disabilities in society.
     Mbuli, Thulani and Tshabalala will continue the courageous, brave and creative experimentation of choreography as they bring their newly re-imagined Dark Cell to the Market Theatre audiences. The re-imagined work will premiere at the John Kani for a limited season, 25 October – 4 November 2018.

Creator and Director: Themba Mbuli
Choreographers:  Fana Tshabalala, Themba Mbuli and Thulani Chauke
Lighting Design:  Thapelo Mokgosi
Costume Design:  Keaoleboga Seodigeng
Stage Manager:  Lebeisa Molapo

Fana Tshabalala
Themba Mbuli
Thulani Chauke

Age Recommendation 16 (N)
Season: 25 October – 04 November 2018
Venue: John Kani Theatre
Performance times: Tuesday – Saturday 20:00 and Sunday 15:00

Tuesday – Sunday R90.00 – R150.00
To make block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke 011 832 1641 ext 203

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