Review: Toy Gun
By TM | 20 November 2017
The Joburg theatre staged the play Toy Gun on the 16th of November and of course as Likers we were there to support local talent and enjoy this fantastic piece of theatre.
This performance is the product of the group’s engagement in the Joburg Theatre and Drama for Life Applied Performing Arts and Arts Management short course, a course which is dedicated to the production of great stories and the telling of previously untold stories. This story, in particular, is impactful and very necessary in the current South African landscape because of the themes that are masterfully articulated and addressed by the talented group of actors. The themes addressed include challenges of township life, xenophobia, crime, despair, belonging, just to name a few. When watching this production I remembered a poem about refugees by Warsan Shire titled: No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark, the way that the actors addressed the issue of xenophobia makes you realize that leaving one’s country, people and culture for an unfamiliar and hostile place is not something that people do lightly. There are a number of dynamics at play that people who have never had to leave home do not consider
I was particularly struck by the accuracy at which township life was depicted, the story of single mother households and a woman struggling to raise a boy child in an environment full of hopelessness and bad influences is a South African story. It is a post-apartheid story. What is not spoken enough about is how bad township life is and this production centres that dispels the myths that we have to believe as a nation that townships in South Africa are part of the black African culture. This production shines a light on the true nature of townships; that they continue to be concentration camps for black people, that they are places of hopelessness where everyone is struggling to survive and are doing the best they can within those dire conditions.
There are comedic moments incorporated to lighten the mood and bring humour to the storyline and this shows that the characters represent real people who experience and display a range of emotions in response to their circumstances.
Toy Gun is a must-see for any theatre lovers or even if you are concerned with issues of social justice and the state of affairs in the country and continent.
Unfortunately, the play ended on the 19th of November. We hope it will return soon for a longer run.