NSK sizzles on ‘Hi, I am Joe’ hails local theatre’s social conscious stance

Researchers has it that alcoholism is a family disease, which by and large, affects every family member's life, attitude, and way of thinking, and perhaps more dramatically than it does for the boozer.

It is with this in mind that Township Productions, a local theatre production house, recently staged a play called, Hi, I am Joe. That, in addition to the producers' deliberate quest to make local theatre more social conscious. Written and directed by Keamogetsi Joseph Molapong and starring Denzel 'NSK' Naobeb, the one-actor play explores the experience of a family member whose life is tormented by a relative's abuse of alcohol. NSK maintains that the experience was nothing short of an eye opener. I played the sibling of an alcoholic who is sick and tired of supporting the brother both materially and emotionally, NSK says adding that the experience was fantastic. Not only because of the relevance of the storyline to the Namibian society but also because of the creative forces behind the production of the play. Uncle Joe (Molapong) and David Ndjavera approached me with the challenge and I gladly said, 'challenge accepted,' the actor cum radio presenter says reiterating this was not only the first time that he was cast as a leading actor, but also as a solo act.

He is however quick to point out that even though he sailed through the act, he did not draw any of the inspiration from personal experiences on the home front. My parents have been diabetic for the most part of my youth, as such we were not exposed to alcohol in the home. I grew up in Kuisebmund (Walvis Bay) and I witnessed friends whose homes were ravaged by such struggles, he said adding that, this is not a black or white story my brother, it's alcohol that we're talking about.

The actor sings praises to the direction in which local theatre has been going for the past two years. More so, in light of the authentic Namibian stories that has been featuring prominently on local stages. He, however, bemoaned the general public's no show at many a theatre play. Why theatre shows are poorly attended as opposed to other entertainment gigs across town defies logic. We still don't know whether or not it is because of a lack of understanding of what theatre is about or whether more needs to be done in terms of promotions, NSK laments.

To me, theatre is a family sport and can make for a great romantic date. It's a pity that the masses don't see this, he added.

On his part, Molapong maintains that play was born out of the need to bring to the fore a situation that happens in every second household in Namibia. Rehabilitation of alcoholics gives so much support to its clients but never prepares the families to deal with the broader problem. At times alcoholics do not understand their impact on the immediate family, thus the play, Molapong says.

The play was staged as part of the collaborative theatre project (CTP) initiative. This project attempts to create a platform for artists and creators of theatre to create and stage productions through their own effort and desires. The project also aims to collaborate with partners who are in a position to provide technical and tactical advice, and support to further enhance the broader vision of the Collaborative Theatre Project. Molapong has it that, for many years performing arts, and theatre in particular, has only been going on when funds are available. This, he says, led to dependency on funds for a creative process to take place which subsequently resulted in the eventual dormancy of theatre activities.

Through this Collaborative Theatre Project, and against the looming financial crises, we are aiming to challenge the current status quo and reverse the dependency syndrome on funds before creativity, Molapong says.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia