Yael Farber is a name well known in South African theatre, so I was eager to see her production of MoLoRa make its New York debut. It’s been travelling the world for the past 8 years, and she says the play was inspired by the image of ash falling in the city after 9/11. In Sotho, MoLoRa means ash. But the production uses the Greek myth of The Oresteia to tell a South African story, one of post-Apartheid forgiveness. The theme is set within the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings that took place in the aftermath.
MoLoRa, was initially produced at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. It’s an unflinching production to watch – one that, at times, can be hard to look upon, as unkind acts are performed on the simple but haunting stage.
Yael talks about the play’s debut in the “tough, beautiful city” and why Americans need to see it:[audio:http://missntertainment.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Yael.mp3|titles=Yael Farber]
And Dorothy Ann Gould on why it needs to go back to South Africa:[audio:http://missntertainment.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/dorothy.mp3|titles=Dorothy Ann Gould]
Physically, it must take a lot out of the actors to go through this each night, but as Dorothy Ann (who plays Klytemnestra) says, the production does leave one with a sense of catharsis and that leads to a greater desire to seek out the forgiveness Yael’s characters strive for.
One of the most effective parts of the production is the use of the Ngqoko Cultural Group – their beats and rhythms drive the story ever forward, in a uniquely South African, particularly Xhosa way. The show comes highly recommended by The Times of London and The Guardian, and it really is one to see – and think about, afterwards. Preferably with a good friend and some comfort food.
MoLoRa is showing as part of the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage initiative at The Ailey Citigroup Theater.