Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros debuts at the Market Theatre

Arts and Creative Industries

The French Institute of South Africa and the Market Theatre Laboratory, with the support of Mazars, are pleased to present Kwasha! Theatre Company’s latest production, Rhinoceros, written by celebrated French-Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco, and directed by The Theatre Duo. The play is taking place at the Ramolao Makhene Theatre in Johannesburg from 4 to 20 October.

Rhinoceros, first performed in 1959, is an emblematic work from Ionesco, one of the foremost figures of the French avant-garde theatre and the Theatre of the Absurd. The play depicts an imaginary epidemic of “rhinoceritis”, a disease that frightens all the inhabitants of a city and soon transforms them into rhinoceroses. A metaphor for the rise of totalitarianism on the eve of the Second World War, it addresses the themes of conformism and resistance to political power. Directed by Theatre Duo Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and Billy Langa, who are known for their mastery of physical theatre, the company will combine different registers to bring this metaphor to life, exploring the tragic situation of human politics through the use of fantastical images.

Kwasha!’s work is a fitting way to open the Market Theatre Laboratory’s 30 Years of the Lab celebrations, which will be comprised of a 9 week-long festival of events, with diverse offering of alumni productions, storytelling evenings, a performance lecture, an alumni showcase and an exhibition on the Market Theatre Laboratory’s 30-year journey.

Rhinoceros will play at the Ramolao Makhene Theatre in Johannesburg from 4 until 20 October, at the Durban Courtyard Theatre from 24 to 26 October and at the Cape Town Magnet Theatre on 8 and 9 November 2019.


About Kwasha Theatre Company

Kwasha Theatre Company 2

From left to right: Vusi Nkwenkwezi, Aalliyah Matintela, Molatelo Tracy Maffa, Sibahle Mangena, Thulisile Nduvane and Sinenhlanhla Mgeyi

The Kwasha! Theatre Company is a collaborative project between the Market Theatre Laboratory and The Windybrow Arts Centre. The project aims to support the careers of recent graduates, by identifying six of South Africa’s most promising theatre makers every year to work together on an exciting programme of new and dynamic theatre pieces.

The 2019 company members aim to uphold a standard of black excellence through making original work that reflects their unique voices and experiences as young South Africans as well as work that challenges the conventional norms of theatre. Kwasha! thrives on making work that is bold and confronts our current socio- economic environment. Work that dares black South Africans to dream past their current realities.

Kwasha! Theatre Company, which successfully toured South Africa last year with the production of The Little Prince, has already garnered international tour invitations, two Naledi award nominations, and two awards at the National Arts Festival since the company was launched in February 2018.


Directors: Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana

Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana-or The Theatre Duo, as they are affectionally known- are an independent collaborative theatre- making duo working and living in South Africa. They began creating their unique brand of physical and storytelling theatre productions in 2015. Theatre Duo’s work has been presented in South Africa, Namibia, Scandinavia, Germany, and England, and has earned them critic’s picks and awards which include a Standard Bank Ovation Award, Best of IYAF (International Award), a Cape Town Fringe Fresh Award, the Naledi Theatre Award for Best Production for Young Audiences and the ACT (Arts and Culture Trust ) Impact runner-up prize.

Billy Langa is an award-winning actor, playwright, and educator. Langa takes a curious approach to theatre – puzzling out what it means to those who perform it and those who witness it – that’s deeply relational to the body. A recent interest of Langa’s is the presence of language, and how it fits into the physicality of theatre.

Mahlatsi Mokgonyana is an award-winning theatre director, actor and dramaturge who prizes, above all else, the inherent truth in a piece of theatre, and the resultant impact it has on its audiences.


The French Institute of South Africa (IFAS)
Mylene Loubiere, Communications Officer
T: 011 403 0458

The Market Theatre
Lusanda Zokufa, Senior Publicist
T: 011 832 1641 ext 202 or 072 367 7867

Full press release here

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