Adelaide Festival: Itsoseng

The empty Space stage is strewn with rubbish and dirt when writer and actor, Omphile Molusi enters, dragging a big tin trunk.

Omphile Molusi
Omphile Molusi

From his appearance and energy we get a good idea of how he is living – rough, hard and homeless.

He wants us to know and understand his home, “Itsoseng”, a depressed and hostile South African township thirteen years after apartheid ended. And through his show, we do.

Drink, sex and soccer are all that happens in “Itsoseng”, we are told. And in this place in ruins… it’s not so much about recreation and fun; more about enduring a sometimes living hell.

Our character, playing out this true story introduces us to a few others, including the town drunk and his high school sweetheart who is still his full-on love interest. And while the ones we come to know a little about are in many ways his peers on the street, there is also a war going on amongst them – and it is all about survival.

Though we never get to know these others completely (and I did want more of them), our main man gives us a fine insight to their existence in the struggling community where no work equals no money, or opportunity.

Molusi is an energetic actor; his stage-pacing, moving, leaping and running are awe-inspiring. His presence and movement contribute hugely to the story moving along.

There is strong political bite to this one-hander; the demonstrations and the burning and looting of the only township super-market hit home how disadvantage, marginalisation and decades of discrimination impact upon human beings.

The play becomes a romantic tragedy in the later part. His sweetheart – an almost destitute prostitute, alone and caring for her two children dies as a result of two botched backyard abortions.

And we feel his pain and sadness… entirely.

Stephen House

Stephen is a writer with numerous plays, exhibitions and short films produced. He has been commissioned often and directs and performs his work. He has won two AWGIE Awards from The Australian Writers Guild and an Adelaide Fringe Award (as well as more), and has received several international literature residencies. Stephen has been Artistic Director of many events. He has been performing his acclaimed solo show, “Appalling Behaviour” nationally from 2010 – 2014 (100 shows to date). Stephen has 2 new works in development.

Stephen House

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