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The Quiet Violence of Dreams :: 11 - 21 April 2012

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Through Tshepo, explore a raw and violent world – where the dark side of the city meets the dark side of a psyche coming to know itself.

UJ Arts & Culture presents K Sello Duiker’s The Quiet Violence of Dreams at the Con Cowan Theatre, Bunting Road Campus, University of Johannesburg from 11 – 21 April 2012 at 19:30.

The play is adapted by Ashraf Johaardien, directed by Alby Michaels and designed by Wilhelm Disbergen.

Theresa Edelmann describes Ashraf Johaardien’s adaptation of K Sello Duiker’s award-winning novel “The Quiet Violence of Dreams” as a triumphal success. “Johaardien’s adaptation of K Sello Duiker’s novel The Quiet Violence of Dreams invites the audience to witness a contemporary hero’s journey as a young black South African man faces the shadows of his being and emerges as Horus, the mythical son of the sun,” she writes.

“Adapting Sello’s 456-page novel into a 109-page play script was a labour of love that lasted roughly two years and the outcome of that process is less an adaptation (or translation) than it is a kind of paraphrasing,” says Johaardien. “I started working on the adaptation shortly after Duiker’s death in 2005. Partly as a tribute but mostly because I believed then, as I still do now, that if we are to continue adapting literature from or about South Africa for the stage, this is the kind of work we need to be investing our time, energy and resources in,” he explains.

True to the novel, much of Johaardien’s adaptation is set in the cosmopolitan Cape Town neighbourhoods of Observatory, Mowbray and Sea Point, where subcultures thrive and alternative lifestyles are tolerated. The plot revolves around Tshepo, a student at Rhodes, who gets confined to a mental institution after an episode of 'cannabis-induced psychosis'.

Through Tshepo, the adaptation explores a raw and violent world – where the dark side of the city meets the dark side of a psyche coming to know itself. Despite its painful past and broken present, the world of the play is constantly underscored by love and redemption, transforming Duiker's social critique of South African race-relations, sexuality and modernity into a universal story about forgiveness, acceptance and the self.

“The central character Tshepo asks: ‘Must I always be apologetic for wanting more than my culture offers?’. His question resonates deeply with me and I believe it will also resonate with a generation of young South Africans trying to live the dream,” says Alby Michaels who will be directing the production. “The individual dream tainted by the perceived global dream is what creates anxiety, inner discord and discontentment. If not dealt with it can fester and become this ‘quiet violence’ referred to in the title of the play,” he adds.

The play premiered on the Main Programme at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown in 2008 and went on to be produced in Cape Town by the Siyasanga Theatre Company in association with Artscape and by the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts in Washington D.C. in 2010. The UJ Arts & Culture production directed by Alby Michaels production which opens on 17 April 2012 at the Con Cowan Theatre on the Bunting Road Campus of University of Johannesburg will be the long-awaited Johannesburg premier of the play.

Please note that the performance includes mature subject matter, including violent imagery. For more information go to or call 011 559 4674.

Ashraf Johaardien

Ashraf Johaardien is a playwright, producer, arts manager and occasionally, a performer. He has held positions with several major South African arts and culture organisations including the SA National Gallery, Iziko Museums of Cape Town, the Baxter Theatre, the Film and Publications Board, the Centre for the Book, the Arts and Culture Trust and the Wits Theatre. His plays have been produced at mainstream theatres and festivals in South Africa and the USA, as well as in Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands. His best-known play, Salaam (2002), was awarded the inaugural Spier-PANSA Jury Award and has been performed to more than 50 000 people on 3 continents. He was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2008. His other plays include Coloured Son X (1998), Happy Endings Are Extra (2003), Miracle (2004), Stripped (2005) and Clora Queen (2010). In 2010 he took up the position of Head: Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg.

Alby Michaels

Alby has been performing from a young age- whether with or without an audience. In 1998 he graduated at the University of Pretoria, cum laude, and made his professional debut that same year in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince, according to him – a good omen.

Highlights of his stage career include Vonke Uit die Vuurklip, in which his portrayal of Stefanus earned him a Vita award nomination in 1999, Amy’s View (Toby) directed by Alan Swerdlow in 1999, Adamas (Adam) directed by Louw Verwey in 2001, Skilpoppe (Ching Kung) directed by Lizz Meiring in 2001, Jo’burg Zoo Storie (Albie) directed by Christo Compion in 2000, Vlerkdans (Anton) directed by Lizz Meiring in 2001, Macbeth (Malcolm) directed by Janice Honeyman in 2000, The Artful Dodger (Oliver Twist) 2002 and Alan Strang in Equus, directed by Thorsten Wedekind in 2011. The small screen beckoned in 1998, when Alby made his television debut as Eugene in Die Netwerk. His credits include Jozi Streets (2004), Binnelanders (2005) and 7de Laan (2006) as well as Luke Taylor in One Way in 2006/2007.

In 2003, Alby joined the Business Against Crime campaign as co-creator and artistic director of the educational theatre project, No Time for Crime. Not only where the learners exposed to groundbreaking edutainment, but also took part in several Youth Against Crime Festivals across South Africa. He received a School Enrichment Award in 2006 for his efforts and contribution.

Although his portfolio reflects a range of diverse projects, it is directing that offers the greatest career satisfaction. South African theatre audiences have experienced Alby’s disciplined attention to detail and abundance of creativity in shows such as Jozi (2002), You Can’t Keep a Good Love Down (2003), SING with Tobie Cronje, Lizz Meiring and Terrence Bridget (2008/2010), Vrou in die Maan for Lizz Meiring (2009), Youth Oratorio composed by Jeanine Zaidel-Rudolf (2009), It Takes Two for Rocco De Villiers (2009), The Crucible for Promusica (2011) and [K]not for Eloise Clasen (2011)

Alby sites his involvement with the University of Johannesburg Arts Academy as the most rewarding experience of his career thus far. He joined the Academy in 2004 as Resident Director, describing it as the perfect environment in which to live and express his passion for directing as well as education and training. Highlights from the 27 productions he has directed for the academy include; Die Keiser (2004), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2004), Metamorphoses (2006), We Shall Sing for the Fatherland (2006), Cabaret (2007), Our Town (2007), African Dust (2008), Jozi Ma Sweetie! (2009), The Far Off Off Broadway (FOOB) Festival (2011) and Flash – a musical blog (2011).

K Sello Duiker

Duiker grew up in Orlando, Soweto, in the eighties. At the time of his death in January 2005, he was considered the most promising of the emerging generation of black South African writers. His first novel was “Thirteen Cents” and he researched it by living on the streets of Cape Town for three-and-a-half weeks with the street kids. The novel was awarded the 2001 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book for the Africa Region. Published by Kwela in that same year, “The Quiet Violence of Dreams” was his second novel and garnered the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for 2001. After his death, his novel for young readers The Hidden Star was published, and was nominated as an Honour List book by the International Board on Books for Young People South Africa (IBBY SA).