The Kwasha! Theatre Company brings Boris Vian’s The Empire Builders to life with an immersive audio experience that will be available for audiences to enjoy from home for the month of February 2021.
Boris Vian’s The Empire Builders, by Kwasha! Theatre Company, is an audio experience born out of innovation under South Africa’s ongoing lockdown restrictions.
The binaural audio play, which takes the shape of three episodes of 20 minutes each, is available as a free and open access online experience via www.empirebuildersinsa.org throughout the month of February 2021. This online experience aims to bring audiences straight into the shrinking apartment of a strange family.
An absurdist tragicomedy grappling with existence and meaning
The Empire Builders is an Absurdist tragicomedy based on Vian’s childhood experience of the Nazi occupation, and written at a time when French colonialism in African and Asian territories was coming to an end.
The play tells the story of a middle-class family that is threatened by an unusual noise forcing the family members to ascend through their apartment building to progressively smaller rooms, leaving behind all the comforts they once enjoyed while maintaining a façade of calm and denial. While the family is constantly on an upward run, their world is increasingly narrowing; floor after floor, members of the family mysteriously leave or vanish.
‘The play addresses themes such as alienation, selfishness, self-deception, prejudice, memory, masculinity, and the incomprehensibility of existence and meaning.’Dintshitile Mashile, director and Kwasha Theatre Company member.
An audio-visual experience from the comfort of your home
Sound design for this iteration of The Empire Builders is by Yogin Sullaphen, and aims to create a crisp and exciting world to take the audience on a journey within their own imaginations.
The website release includes an image gallery with documentation of the process as well as stills from the production by Oscar Gutierrez. Audiences are encouraged to simply listen or browse the production stills to enhance their experience of the world created with The Empire Builders.
Tune in to The Empire Builders anytime throughout February on www.empirebuildersinsa.org.