An exploration of mental illness
outh Africans were recently devasted by the loss of 97 mental health patients in the the Esidimeni tragedy and it is for this reason that Lara Foot’s latest provocative and topical play The Inconvenience of Wings about mental health feels more relevant and necessary than ever. The play brings bipolar disorders out of the dark and to the fore, and tackles the supporting issues of friendship, dysfunction, addiction and angels.
Playwright Lara Foot’s passion for creating fascinating works that challenge societal norms has become her artistic signature. Foot has given the theatrical world a succession of great productions that have become classics, including Karoo Moose, Fishers of Hope, Hear and Now, and Tshepang.
The Inconvenience of Wings is set in a landscape of memory and dreams, where Sara (Jennifer Steyn) has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. She is compulsive, animated and hates women who know how to make cupcakes. Her husband Paul (Andrew Buckland) is determined to find a cure for her afflictions, while Professor James (Mncedisi Shabangu) quietly tries to save Paul from the inconvenience of his wings.
This dynamic drama was inspired by Abraham J. Twerski`s book Addictive Thinking, which examines compulsion, addiction, denial and abuse of self. It was also developed through conversations about bipolar disorder that Foot had with celebrated psychiatrist Dr Sean Baumann, and further inspired by her father, who has suffered from dementia for more than a decade.
The mood disorders affect not only the lives of the victims themselves, but also the world they move in; marriage, family, friends, job and society at large. The root cause is the victim’s reduced ability to ‘perform’ in these different areas of their life. A seriously depressed person will become morose, incommunicative, withdrawn and unable to participate actively in what is going on. That places a heavy burden on family and friends to compensate for the loss of that ‘social’ contribution, and to give them extra care, encouragement and supervision.
After a successful premiere at the National Arts Festival and a season at the Baxter Theatre, The Inconvenience of Wings will make its Gauteng premiere at the Market Theatre. This thrilling drama delivers hard-hitting questions about what help is given to mentally challenged people and their families.
Foot has assembled South Africa’s leading actors for this show. Multi-award winning actors Andrew Buckland and Jeniffer Steyn have both scooped the Fleur du Cap Award for their leading roles in the play. Mncedisi Shabangu who performs alongside Buckland and Steyn is also a multi-award winning actor and he is one one of the most successful alumni to gradutate from the Market Theatre Laboratory.
Birrie Le Roux
15 June – 28 June
Mannie Manim @The Market Theatre
Tuesdays to Saturdays @ 20h15 and Sunday @15h15
Friday – Saturday:
To make block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke
011 832 1641 ext 203.
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