Matters of the Heart

Written by:

Kathleen McCreery

Cast Size:
34

Roles For:

  • LGBTQ+: 2
  • Men: 19
  • People of Colour: 34
  • Women: 8

Genre:

Drama

Themes:

Africa
Asylum
Home
Inflation
Misogyny
Money
Poverty
Violence
Women
Work

Length:

90 min.

Year Written:

2011

Synopsis:

The play follows a woman taxi driver in Soweto, South Africa, during the course of a single day as she and her passengers juggle jobs and family responsibilities, struggle to cope with unemployment and rising prices, and confront the prejudices that lead to discrimination against women, and attacks against lesbians and asylum seekers. The focus is mainly on women as they strive to define their identities in the new South Africa. Written in 2011, and premiered in 2014, the subject matter remains relevant, and not just in South Africa. MOTH makes use of physical theatre and dance, and there’s plenty of humour leavening the serious subject matter.

The play was written in collaboration with Dinganga Theatre Creations in Soweto. The writer, Kathleen McCreery, and Artistic Director, Thabang Ramaila, met at a festival in Port Elizabeth, and got on so well, they resolved to work together. Kathleen was funded by Culture Ireland to travel to South Africa where she and the company researched and workshopped. It took 3 years to get the funding for a full production. MOTH was performed by 8 versatile performers who were able to transform quickly from one character to another. (However, there are plenty of roles for a much larger cast.) The exception was the actress playing Sebenzile, the woman taxi driver, who is onstage throughout. As the action takes place in a range of locations, the set is minimal and flexible, and in at least one scene, created by the actors’ bodies. Following the premiere at the Soweto Theatre, Dinganga took MOTH to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.

Characters:

Sebenzile – woman taxi driver, 30s.
Mkhohliseni – Sebenzile’s husband, 30s.
Nightmare sequence – male taxi driver, accident victim, paramedic, witness, policeman, passenger, hitmen (2).
Mokwepe – Sebenzile’s colleague
Sqwayi – taxi company boss
Thomas – Zimbabwean construction worker, 30s.
Mzamo – matric student, late teens
Mrs. Malefano – teacher, 50s
Hadebe – trade unionist, 40s
Modiegi – woman architect, mid to late 20s.
Interviewers (3)
Zweletu – a traditional sangoma (healer)
Pastor Jacob – 50s.
Lerato – creche worker, lesbian, early 30s.
Ndumiso – soccer player, early 20s.
Evelyn – hawker, 40s.
Gertrude – cleaner, 60s
Kim – Lerato’s lover.
Dice players (2)
Matthews – security guard, 40s.
Xola – merchandiser, 30s.
Phenias – cobbler, 50s
Moleko – tsotsi (criminal), late teens
Bongiwe – chambermaid, pregnant, mid 20s.

First Produced:

2014, Soweto Theatre, Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Produced by Dinganga Theatre Creations.

Resources:

The play can be accessed by emailing the playwright at kath@kathmc.com or by visiting their website.