19 October 2019 22:57
Cape Town - On the eve of South Africa's national elections, the crux of playwright John Kani's new play is apt. Kani stars as Lunga Kunene, a headstrong male nurse contracted to care for a cantankerous actor Jack Morris, played by Sir Antony Sher. Kani, 76, began thinking about the play in 2009. "I was doing The Tempest with Tony Sher and I realised I always wanted to work with Tony, but The Tempest didn't give us enough meat to work with so I said to him I have an idea to write something for the two of us and that was it, 10 years passed by," said Kani. "I don't write with someone in mind and slowly as I developed my first draft I wrote he was dying of liver cancer and he was going to do a play in Cape Town, King Lear," said Kani.
"Any older actor knows the last great mountain to climb is to play King Lear and now, if I ever play Lear, I will have done the pre-preparation because I had to go into the play and read it over and over again." Once Kani finished the first draft, he sent it to Sher who was playing King Lear in a production in Stratford-upon-Avon, with the idea that Sher would make some corrections and tighten up the Lear references. Much to Kani's surprise, Sher was captivated by the script and signed on immediately to play Jack. The play is extremely funny and poignant, but at times can leave an uncomfortable feeling, but the brilliance of Kani's writing to weave in political, societal and identity themes while making a broader comment on post-apartheid society is striking. John Kani as Lunga Kunene, and Sir Antony Sher as Jack Morris, in scenes from their new play Kunene and the King, now on at the Fugard Theatre. Kani said he began thinking about the idea for the play in 2009, when he and Sher were acting together.
"That helped me to understand that standing on a soapbox and preaching the whole night is not storytelling." Kani said we overestimated how long it would take for us to normalise the situation in the country. Kani said a culture was created during the Struggle to not pay for services and boycott anything that symbolises the establishment. While it often takes a while for well-deserving artists to receive the recognition they deserve, the prestigious Naledi Theatre Awards saw fit to give due credit to thespian John Kani on Monday night. John, who has a long, impressive resumé and accolades, was honoured with the World Impact Award at the Joburg Theatre, where the annual awards ceremony took place. The Black Panther actor took to Twitter to express his gratitude.
The actor humbly said his thanks on social media. Veteran actor, John Kani, has been awarded the special award of Naledi Theatre World Impact Award at the Joburg Theatre, where the annual awards ceremony took place, as reported on by TimesLIVE. John is a household name and has a long list of impressive awards already to his name. The actor took to Twitter to give his thanks for being awarded. "Thank you to the Naledi Awards and the theatre community for honoring me with the World Impact Award." Briefly.co.za gathered that video showing all John's biggest projects was shown to honour him even more: So when Atandwa Kani played a joke on his dad, telling him to smile for a picture when it was actually a video, he represented all of us. And then John Kani even tells his son to move the camera around so that there's a different background for the "picture". "I strive daily to be a tenth of this man's greatness."