By Frederick Philander
More than 900 learners and teachers applauded the premiere performance of the newly created Aids-puppet play, ‘The Trumpet Player’, staged on Monday morning at Lemmer Secondary School in Rehoboth.
The play by Assitej-Namibia is currently on tour around secondary schools and will today end its southern run at a school in Luderitz.
“It was sheer magic to watch the relevant Aids story unfold in such a magnificent way, through puppets,” said one of the Grade 12 learners of the play that was staged as part of the school’s academic day.
The school hall reverberated with applause and excitement from both learners and teachers, who all received a rare early morning dose of educational theatre by way of the 40-minute play that is financed by the Finnish Embassy in Windhoek.
In short The Trumpet Player depicts the life of an HIV/Aids mother, who contracted the killer disease through a casual sexual encounter in which no condoms were used.
The child born from this sexual encounter is also infected by the dreaded disease for which there is still no cure. The moral of the story is the devastating effect that Aids has on single mothers and children throughout the country. From an audience’s point of view the learners and teachers were captivated from the outset and lived through the tragic growing pains of the Aids-infected son, who never knew his father.
“This play does not preach or moralise about the Aids pandemic, it shows the realities of the helplessness of Aids victims in all its facets, a rare insight and confrontational treat for learners and teachers about Aids,” said the director and male actor of the play, Richard Swartz, who made a profound impact on the appreciative audience.
Both Swartz and actress Anna Louw had the audience eating from their hands especially the scene in which puppetry and the human element innovatively fuses in a very original manner, causing an explosive emotional climax between mother and son on stage.
After an enjoyable early morning stage interlude an educational creative writing workshop was held by the cast with the Assitej-Namibia members at Dr Lemmer Secondary School.
‘The Trumpet Player’ is a home-grown commissioned work written by Lize Kubersky and Michael Chiningua.
In the next two weeks ‘The Trumpet Player’ is to be performed in the capital and other schools in the North.