Love and murder visit National Theatre of Namibia

The National Theatre of Namibia’s back-stage will be lit up by a theatrical performance Deur die trallies van my hok this Friday and Saturday, and it promises to be a night of lights, cameras and lots of action, the organisers have said.

Written and directed by Kubhe Rispel, the play is semi-musical and employs dance and movement in the telling of tales about how society perceives artistes in Namibia.

Perhaps the primary theme with which it explodes centres on crimes of passion that seem to forever cling on to the root of Namibia’s domesticated culture of gender-based violence.

“The story is about a young woman who gets abused by her fiancé, and that abuse has been going on for a while, and she keeps ignoring it until she gets to the point of being killed,” says actor-cum-songstress Whilzahn Gelderbloem.

It has been at best described as a tragic contemporary inspired story of what happens when a girlfriend/wife/ fiancé becomes a possession of her boyfriend and victim of jealousy, which ends in the tragic death of the girl.

“It is a very sensitive topic, yes, but this is a reality, this is happening in Namibia every day I can say. Especially that we have so much of these passion killings, this (theatre) is something that people need to see,” she said.

She added, ‘You read the newspapers, and another woman was killed, but then we brush it off because we are not directly faced with this. But with theatre bringing stories to life, it puts it in the audience’s faces and questions them and they get to start rethinking things, you know.”

Rispel has been reckoned as a pioneer in Namibian theatre and the fact that he touches on existential social realities makes his work undeniably novel and relevant.

Gelderbloem plays Joy, a singer who  is a best friend to the lady that gets killed, Mandy (performed by Khadiijah Houton) after having grown up together in the same neighbourhood only for life to rip them apart through circumstances dictated by the trappings of “love”.

Joy becomes the mouthpiece and voice of the voiceless who through her vain attempts to reach out to her friend brings out the raw nerves of the play channeling the message right across to the audience.

In Deur die trallies van my hok Rispel arm-twists time, and by using the flashbac technique, he brings to light the protagonist’s life background.

Through music, the play creates mood and sets contrasting tones depending on the scenes while seeking empathy from the audience as the storyline weaves through different energies, which bring both sweet and sower moments.

“Music is universal; we may not understand the same language, but when you experience music it tells its own story. So it amplifies the play,” Gelderbloem added.

The other characters in no significant order are as follows:

Ben who is a wealthy, sophisticated, highly motivated entrepreneur with a beautiful house, a millionaire.

 Mandy who is his fiancé, a soft-spoken, caring teacher. Beautiful physically and inherently who is involved with the social upliftment of society and genuinely cares for the marginalised people in the community.

 Kapie and Ou Toppie are doing menial labour around the neighbourhood but are keen observers whose comments on the behaviour and mannerisms of the rich people are sometimes the only truth spoken in these closed societies.

There is also Jack and Joy, Mandy’s bohemian, hippy-like friends whose obvious dislike of Ben increase the friction and conflict already existing and leading to the ultimate act of passion killing.