Two in a row, on two consecutive nights. Once again I am back here on meganshead, writing about a show I absolutely loved. This decision to only write about the stuff I love seems to have paid off in buckets.
Hayani means ‘home’ in Venda. It is also the name of a totally beautiful production that opened at The Baxter last night. Directed by Warren Nebe, Atandwa Kani and Nat Ramabulana tell the stories of their growing up; their two very different, yet at times converging stories. The two move from telling how they would travel, as children, from Joburg back to the Eastern Cape and Venda during the holidays, to how their respective parents met, to playing those parents and each other, and each other’s friends in the most delightful and absorbing hour and a half in a theatre shared with them.
It also had a deeply personal ring for me, particularly the scenes that took place in Jozi, because that was where I grew up. References to times and dates as well as landmarks brought back my own memories too, and the most powerful one was listening to the beautiful, round and lilting sounds of Venda being spoken, reminding me without me understanding, but hearing with such familiarity.
The content means story telling, and the pieces are beautifully written and directed, but it is the performers who take it to a whole new level. They are gorgeous. Tight, energetic, passionate, emotional, sensitive, powerful, gentle, funny, cheeky, and deeply committed performance make Hayani the easy peasy standing ovation piece it is. Again, I am writing this to urge you to see theatre that can change your heart from the inside.