Le Costume

di Can Themba

adattato da Mothobi MutIoatse e Barney Simon

adattamento francese di Marie Hélène Estienne

Regia Peter Brook

Luci Philippe Vialatte

Maphikela Mamadou Fomba

Philemon Bakary Sangaré

Matilda Princess Erika

KK, Joe Cyril Guei

Direzione di scena Jean-Paul Ouvrard

Costumista Nadine Rossi

Suono Cyril Mulon

Direzione tecnica Jean-Guy Lecat

Responsabile della produzione, della tournée Clara Bauer

Coproduzione: C.I.C.T./Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Théâtre Vidy - Lausanne ETE, RuthFestspiele/Recklinghausen, Prix Europe pour le Théâtre/Taormina Arte/Ente teatro di Messina,

Bologna 2000 Città Europea della Cultura/Arena del Sole - Nuova Scena

Teatro Stabile di Bologna, Emilia Romagna Teatro - Teatro Stabile Regionale ‑ Modena,

Théâtre National/Luxembourg e con il sostegno dell'Adami.

Musiche: Thula Mama: Sibongile Khumalo

Forbidden games: Myriam. Makeba

Atisket-Atasket: Ella Fitzgerald

Lakutshin Ilanga/Ntjilo: Myriam Makeba

Unohilo/Excuse me babe please/Where are you going?/ Morolo/Koshana: Hugh Masekela

Be my guest: The Manhattan Brothers

Among the painful, atrocious memories of the time of apartheid there IS one, though brief and vivid, that is still accompanied today by its special aura of hope and joy, the flavour of a certain golden age When you say the word "Sophiatown " faces light up immediately and a rich torrent of images passes before your eyes
In Sophiatown everything happened in what were called "she beens" -illegal, makeshift secret bars -the haunts of black and white writers, thieves, pimps, prostitutes and musicians Here they talked, dreamed, and in desperation became alcoholics and drug
addicts One of the prime animators of these secret bars, Can
Themba, a talented writer; held court every evening, and it was during one of these sessions that he first told the sad story of Philemon and Matilda, Le Costume It is the story of a ménage à trois, a wife, a husband and a suit a story that begins with humor and irony and ends with cold, terrible cruelty Can Themba died some years later; in exile, struck down by despair and alcohol

Un Teatro delle Township

(...) "African theatre" embraces so many places and so many different forms that this term does not mean very much By contrast, township theatre is very precise Firstly it was born from life in the street, in the town, towns that are not like any others; townships have a character all their own In most countries where the political regime has created violence and oppression, whenever people gather together they are regarded as suspect and dangerous The specific policy of apartheid was to separate the races by completely isolating blacks in what were called townships, the number of which steadily increased over the years This sparked rapid and intensive communication
In a hot climate trade, discussions, stories, everything happens in the street. Everybody 15 a story teller; his body language enlivens the details of what he is recounting Story telling and mime are an integral part of daily life But the real driving force behind it is a need A need to share Township theatre was born from the experience of people who returned to the town after being cowed, humiliated, treated like dirt -didn't they all have to address the whites who dominated them as "Baas" -and told their brothers what they had suffered that very day Every horror; every incongruous situation that was surrealistic in its very violence, every stupid farce suddenly came to life People listened fascinated, they laughed, they shouted, they cried, they protested, and that moment strengthened their sharing (...)

Peter Brook
Extract from Afrique du Sud,
Theatre des Townships, Actes-Sud Papiers

Gli autori


Was the co-founder and artistic director of the Market Theatre Theatre director; journalist and writer; he was employed by Athol Fugard in 1967 at the Dorkay House Rehearsal Room, where he ran theatre workshops for eight years He directed Fugard in Krapp's Last Tape and Hello and
Goodbye From 1968 to 1970 he staged plays in New York and Boston, and was a contributor to the New American Review He directed the Market Theatre's first play Marat / Sade during the Soweto uprising This was followed by La Mottette, Les Bonnes, Happy Days, Wozeck, Oedipus, Six personnages en quete d'auteur; Les Sorcieres de Salem, Lysistrata, Voyage au bout de la nuit, Mere Courage, Médée, People are Living there?, Antigone, La Mort de Bessie Smith (with Janet Suzman), Les Troyennes, Le oibbouk, Cold Stone Jug, Still Life, Night Mother; The Blood Knot and Flight. He is the co-author of Phiri (a black musical version of Volpone), of Cold Stone Jug and of Joburg Sis and Miss South Africa, played by Yvonne Bryceland at the National Theatre, London, and wrote lyrics for many composers He directed the film City Lovers that was shown at the New York Film Festival and wrote many screenplays.

Barney Simon died on 30 June 1995


Can Themba lived in Sophia town in the fifties, the multicultural suburb of Johannesburg before it was brutally bulldozed and completely razed to the ground by the authorities.
He was so shocked, he denounced this episode in Requiem pour Sophia town Can Themba was a member of a group of committed black journalists who published in the magazine Drum These articles and reports described the seething, cruel, vibrant, violent life in Sophiatown He was censured by all the newspapers and publications in South Africa. After going into exile in Swaziland, he sank further and further into alcoholism and died in poverty in 1967. His two companions, Nat Nakasa and Ingrid Jonker, committed suicide, destroyed, like so many others, by apartheid


Mothobi Mutloatse lives in Skotaville in South Africa. He is a journalist, publisher and writer He has written several plays including Bloke, Sellout, Baby Come Duze, Lakutsbo'llanga and many novels Casey & Company, Forced Landing, Reconstruction, Umblaba Wethu, Bishop Tutu's Hope & Suffering, It's a Goal, The Boy Who Could Fly.

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