University of Botswana Travelling Theatre (UBTT) to Produce a Strindberg Classic for Maitisong 2012 as Part of World-Wide Centennial Commemorations of the Death of August Strindberg in 1912.
The University of Botswana Travelling Theatre (UBTT) is currently working on a production of the Swedish playwright, August Strindberg’s classic, The Father, which will be produced for the forthcoming annual Maitisong Arts Festival for 2012.
Adapted for local audiences by Owen Seda,
current coordinator and artistic director for UBTT, The Father will be premiered at The Ladies No.1 Opera House in the city of Gaborone on
Saturday April 14, 2012
as part of world-wide celebrations to mark the life and times of the iconic Swedish playwright August Strindberg who died exactly one hundred years ago this year.
August Strindberg was born in 1849 and died in 1912, aged sixty-three. Strindberg is generally considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern drama alongside other playwrights of his era such as John Millington Synge, George Bernard Shaw, Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky. The Father ranks among Strindberg’s most well-known plays which include The Outlaw, Black Banners, The Confessions of a Fool and Miss Julie.
About the University of Botswana Travelling Theatre (UBTT)
The University of Botswana Travelling Theatre (UBTT) is a student based theatre company which is based and coordinated in the Department of English at the University of Botswana. While it draws the bulk of its membership from students in the Faculty of Humanities, it also attracts membership across disciplines, affording acting, and play production opportunities to students from other faculties at the University of Botswana who have an abiding interest in the arts. The group currently has a membership of fifteen comprising staff and students.
UBTT has a long history of performances at the University of Botswana dating as far back as the 1980’s. Over the years the company has produced numerous plays as art theatre as well as a number of other plays for social engagement through community theatre and theatre for development projects in diverse contexts. For a long period of time, the University of Botswana Travelling Theatre has played a pivotal role in not only serving as a cultural wing for the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Botswana, but also as a forum through which interested staff and students can realize their potentialities and vocation in the performing arts.
The Significance of Strindberg’s The Father in Botswana
The University of Botswana has chosen to produce The Father for two principal reasons. First, The Father ranks among August Strindberg’s most iconic plays and secondly it was chosen for its theme which is based on struggles over paternity. The Father portrays the tragedy of a man and a woman struggling for the possession of their child. The father, a military captain, is intellectual, a freethinker and a man of ideas while his wife is narrow, selfish, and unscrupulous in her methods when her antagonism is wakened.
In husband and wife’s battle of wits to determine the child’s destiny and its upbringing, the father is concerned with the intellectual development of the child, while the mother is interested only in the exclusive possession of the child. Therefore she fights the man with every means at her command, even to the point of instilling the poison of doubt into his mind, hinting that he is not the father of the child. Not only does the mother seek to drive her husband mad, but through skilful intrigue she leads everyone, including the family doctor, to believe that the father is actually insane.
The theme of struggle over paternity rights is bound to strike a familiar resonance in all modern societies, such as Botswana, which have an abiding interest in issues and debates to do with gender and feminism.
The Father is being produced with a cast of eight featuring Gaone Toteng and Ms Dimolemo Kenneth in the lead roles of Lt Col Rebaone, the military officer (The Father) of the title and his wife Kemmonye respectively. Other members of cast include Chandapiwa Chiziyo, Ivan Bonno, Ratanang Mopedi, Kgosi Mpueng, Lenny Thotloetso, Fred Modiri Onkabetse, and Phatsimo Segwagwa, with Kamogelo Tamocha and Tefo Molefhi serving in the role of Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager respectively.
The play is being directed by Owen Seda, a lecturer in Theatre Studies and English Literature at the University of Botswana and current coordinator of UBTT with the assistance of Ivan Bonno, a Staff Development Fellow in the UB’s Department of English.
The play will be premiered in Gaborone on Saturday April 14, 2012 as one of the University of Botswana’s entries for the 2012 annual Maitisong Festival.
O. Seda (Dr)
Digi Pics from Rehearsals of The Father
030 Gaone Toteng (The Father) in a scene with Phatsimo Segwagwa (the elderly family housemaid)
031 Gaone Toteng (The Father)
034 Full cast for The Father (UBTT)
037 Gaone Toteng (The Father) in confrontation with his wife Kemmonye (Dimolemo Kenneth)
042 Dimolemo Kenneth (The wife) with the family doctor (Fred Onkabetse)
046 Gaone Toteng (The Father) and his daughter Mogametsi (Ratanang Mopedi)