Muller and Mwange steal show in new play

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Pinehas Nakaziko

Windhoek-Award-winning actress Odile Muller, and six time theatre and film nominee Sepiso Mwange, has once again left spectators craving for more during their acting on the play ‘And the Girls in Their Sunday Dresses’.

The play was staged over the weekend at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) Backstage and more than 100 people in attendance laughed their lungs out throughout, despite the cold weather.

The play also saw the two actresses delivering their best to bring alive the work written by acclaimed South African novelist, poet and playwright Zakes Mda. It was directed by Namibian film and stage director Vickson Hangula.

Muller plays a retired prostitute who has fallen on hard times and is preoccupied by what has defined her for many years, played as a high-heeled gum-chewing lady, while Mwange acted as a woman dressed as a domestic worker.

They waited in a seemingly endless government queue at the “food bank office” for the subsidised rice they call “Harambee food”. As they were all prepared for this, one lady brought with her chair and make-up kit, while another brought food.

Both even prepared to sleep in the queue to wait for the clerks to return the following morning. Initially doubtful of each other, the women cruelly criticise each other’s clothes and life choices. The audience also learned about the women’s individual backgrounds and how they came to be in these circumstances.

“For how long can we wait for this?” asked one of them after four days of waiting. But, of course, such hopefulness is inappropriate.

The audience also learned about their lived experience, not only through simple storytelling from one character to the other, but also in flashback form, as the same actresses animatedly embodied the men who betrayed them, the incompetent public servants unwilling to serve them, and surprisingly, a preaching former prostitute who found love and the gospel.

After each personal revelation, The Lady and The Woman realise that they have more in common than either of them previously supposed and the initially suspicious and mysterious association between the two changes into an unlikely bond.

At the end of the play The Lady and The Woman’s turn for their rice finally arrives and they become conflicted on whether they will subject themselves to endless paperwork and dismissive clerks, so that they can get their government rice, or rather find a way to fight.
However, the productions bring together the best of Namibia’s actors, directors, producers, designers and technicians.

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