present the case is being reconsidered to go backto an appeal court. ‘Weteel that an appeal isn't in it-a Royal Pardon is whatis required.‘ says James O'Brien whose play about the case comestothe Demarco Gallery this year. O'Brien. whose previous play earned him an award trom the Sunday Times last year. was in Birmingham at thetime olthe bombing and his play is tired by his angry conviction that the verdict was completely unjust. He points out that the torensic method used by the police was the Griess method. now no longer used bythe Home Ottice on the grounds oi its lallibility. ‘The men were arrested on the grounds that they were travellingto Ireland that night.‘ says O'Brien. 'They were taken into police custody. By the time they came out they had
conlessed. They maintained that they were beaten until they contessed.‘
O'Brien's play asksthe audience to be the jury. and presentsthe case ina lierce. last. non-naturalistic style. ‘The lirst ten seconds ol the play are verytrightening andtry to give the audiencethe feeling of what it might have been like in the pubs.‘ he explains. ‘Then we move out to consider the case.‘
The company have also won a BP award tor presentation. Based in Carditttheytourthe Welsh valleys with their productions. They hitched to Edinburgh (they are all unemployed) and are staying in a derelict gym simply to be able to per torm the play on the Fringe. Afterwards they hope to tour with it- though probably not
black person‘s every movement forced her out of
Iler determination to put Zandile to work in the fields ‘so that the boys can see her.‘ is her response to a system where economic opportunity is decided by skin colour. and so marriage and a hefty bride-price offer much
‘If you look under Zundile. my mother was a migrant worker and she was victimised for that. That is a political statement.’ says Mhlophe.
‘For me it was a big decision to make. to do Xandi/r'. People have always seen me in political plays before. I made a decision that I have a right to talk about myself. I have talked about children being shot in the streets before. I am also a person. I can talk about myself.
‘It is a very big statement for one person to say ofpolitical theatre “it is time up". I wouldn‘t like to do that. But it would be nice to find more creativity. to look at more subtle things.‘ she
Mhlophe's commitment to Born in the RSA. kept Zandile. which premiered in Johannesburg
to Birmingham. where teelings still run high. (SH)
0 The Pub-Bombers. Giro Theatre Company. Richard Demarco Gallery. (venue 22). 557 0707. 9—15Aug. 7.30pm;16—22Aug.11am: 23-29 Aug 4pm. £2.50 (£1.50). [Fr].
o MEIN AMERIKAA by Matthew Weiss contronts execution.Omtrchk Productions. Demarco Gallery. (venue 22). 557 0707. 929 Aug. 6pm. £2.50 (£1 .50).
o HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH by Sheri Graubert and Andrew Menziestocuses onthe relationship between a probation officer and a young ottender. Rose Brutord College. Celtic Lodge (venue 6). 2257097. 126.96.36.199Aug.
12.15pm. £1.50(£1) [Fr]. 0 ALL DRESSED UP by Nasser Memarzia promises a witty look at the pain ol incarceration for both those locked up and those locked outside lrom them. Yorkshire Theatre Company. Festival Club. (venue 36). 2201112. 16-29 Aug. 8.45pm. £2.50 (£1.75). [Fr]
0 SOUL SOLUTIONtrom Leicestershire Youth Theatres looks atescape through imagination trom the intolerable situation at being imprisoned without cause. Leicestershire Youth Theatres. StAnn's Community Centre. (venue 65).17-22 Aug. 8pm. £2 (£1.50). [Fr].
0 FIND ME by Olwen Wymark tells the true story of a mentally-disturbed girl locked away in Broadmoor at the age at 21 and her ensuing isolation. Plastic
sixteen months ago. off the Edinburgh stage last year. But because of Mhlophe's experiences during that time. the Fringe will be seeing a much i
For a start. it is forty minutes shorter. The characters are more solidified. Mhlophe says. but ‘ the biggest change is in her attitude to her
‘I never thought very deeply about that character.‘ she says. ‘I seemed to remember only the wrong things about her. I had to think about her side ofthe story — there must have been a
reason for what she did.‘
Mhlophe’s mother. who wanted her to grow up a dutiful sife or at least a nurse. died at the end of 1984. a week after she had got back from touring Europe with Barney Simon‘s Black Dog. also given its British premiere at the Traverse at the
Fringe that summer.
‘My mother had such a beautiful strong body.‘ she recalls. "To see her weak like that was so sad. I was hoping that one day we would have a nice relationship but she was still cross. She would say ‘acting' like it was a bad work. She would say. ‘I will die without ever touching a child ofyours.‘ It was sad to lose her like that.‘
It took Mhlophe a long time to recover from her mother‘s death. At first she spent weeks alone. writing in her room in the women‘s hostel in Alexandra. one ofJohannesburg‘s oldest townships. Then the death of a close friend. Moss Molepo. killed by a runaway army truck. shook
her out into the world.
She poured herself into Born in the RSA and the part she played. the mother ofa young child in police detention. Mlophe vividly remembers an evening spent in a tiny warm Alexandra kitchen. while the woman on whom she based her character cooked her a meal.
‘She was throwing her baby into the air and catching it. and the baby was laughing. She said to the child: “You must laugh while you can. soon they will come for you." Each night. I thought of that and said. “Please God. I must do this character as well as I can".'
Was it experiences like this that helped her make peace with the difficult parts of her life‘.’ ‘Maybe it‘s just time. maybe it‘s me growing up. I have to see her side of the story. She believed she was grooming me to be a Xhosa woman. preparing me for a harsh life like hers.‘
Mhlophe also learned more about her mother when her father. Tom. travelled to Johannesburg
YOU STRIKE THE
Banana Theatre Co. Calton Studios. Calton Road (venue 71 ). 556 7066.10.
the rock. They bring up the children. . . Itthe system hits women. it hits rock'.
188.8.131.52.21,24,26. explainthe Vusisizwe
28 Aug. 4pm. £2.50 (£2). Players.
[Fr]. lnavibrantpiece of protest theatre. the three pertormers show how South African pass laws for
lemales. an innovation in 1956. have systematically tried to confine black women. asthey have black men. to the ethnic groups and geographical locations ottheirbirth-whetheror not there is work torthem
Heroine Mampopo. played by Thobeka Taking itstitle trom a Maqhutyana. manages to protest song celebratingthe escapelrom a rural mass gathering of 20.000 IOWHSIIID 0I ("009m and
disease. but as an illegal tarmworker. she is
black women in Pretoria in 1956. YOU STRIKE THE
WOMAN. You STRIKE THE exploited and sexually ROCKis one of the most harassed by herlarmer impassioned plays at this boss. A second escape tinds year‘s Festival. “Women are her selling chickens.
to see her as Zandile.
‘When my father came to see the play. he sat right opposite me. It was an experience. He could not speak afterwards. When you ask him a question. he doesn't answer immediately — he lets it sink in.‘
Later that evening they talked into the night. Tom telling her things she never knew about her mother and herself. When Tom first took her away to Durban. away from her mother. at the age of three. she cried so much that people in the train began fixing him with a suspicious stare. ‘Did you steal this child'." they asked.
But it is obvious too. that Mhlophe's strongest resources for making peace with herself and others. have grown out of the texture of her daily life. one part ofwhich Zandile captures so acutely.
She came to live in Johannesburg as soon as she finished school. eight years ago. For the first four years. she never got near a stage. living in backrooms in the city suburbs with her sisters who were domestic servants. At one place. the white ‘madam‘ did not know she was living there. and Mhlophe had to spend every day indoors.
‘I just read everything I could lay my hands on.‘ she recalls. ‘This madam had this very high voice. She changed her hairstyle almost every week. she was always chewing gum and she wore very red lipstick.
‘She would shout for my sister “Ireeeene”. like she was three streets away. and I just had to stay quiet.‘
Mhlophe eventually found jobs. working in a clothing factory and as a nanny herself. but all her energy went into reading and reading. and gradually turning what she did and saw into stories of her own.
Since that time. theatre has taken Mhlophe round most ofEurope and the United States. ‘In two years time I hope to settle down.‘ she says. ‘I want to work with children and so I have to spend a lot oftime here. [can‘t just work two months and then run again.‘
Meanwhile Mhlophe is looking forward to her third Edinburgh Festival. ‘It is a lovely time. because you see plays from all over the world.‘ she says. ‘But ifit could happen here. it would be so much better. because then I wouldn‘t have to pack again and go.‘
Have You Seen Zandile? Market Theatre. Johannesburg. Traverse Theatre. 1 12 West Bow (226 2633) 11—27 Aug. Times vary.
The List 7— 20 August 17