The New York Film Academy’s sixth Student Directed Play is the South African play “Woza Albert!” (which means “Rise Albert”) by Percy Mrwa, Mbongeni Ngema and Barney Simon. The production is directed by Ydalie Jikmat, Fall ’15 BFA, and stars NYFA alumni Ricky Cruz and Nyeleti Khoza.
The two actors play roles of various South Africans — a vendor, barber, servant, manual laborer, soldier — receiving the news that Christ (Morena) has arrived in South Africa, where a Calvinist white elite imposes apartheid. Christ’s arrival precipitates a crisis, and the government launches a nuclear bomb against the peacemaker. In the ruins, great South African leaders in resistance to apartheid such as Albert Luthuli, assassinated president of the African National Congress, are resurrected. They play dozens of parts that involve them using many skills such as acting, mime, singing and dance. They also create images using a few words and actions.
“Woza Albert!” is a part of my anatomy as a performer and theatre-maker,” says Jikmat. “Through humor and an unparalleled energetic spirit the play mobilized people to take action against an oppressive system. It is the reason I have such a high regard for theatre as a powerful, effecting medium. Sharing this piece of my culture with my peers is a privilege and having the opportunity to direct the play is a need fulfilled. I am so grateful.”
“Woza Albert!” will be performed this Thursday and Friday at 7:30 and Saturday at 1:30 in the Kaminski Theater.