11 Questions with the Sizwe Banzi is Dead company – Matthew Xia

2013’s Genesis Future Directors Award-winner Matthew Xia brings his sell-out production of Sizwe Banzi is Dead back to the Young Vic. Here he answers our 11 Questions.

If you had to pick a favourite line from Sizwe Banzi is Dead, which one would it be and why?
“All I’m saying is be a real ghost, if that is what they want, what they’ve turned us into. Spook them into hell man.”
It’s beautifully poetic. I think it conveys both the position of the black man in apartheid era South Africa and the fire of frustration that burns brightly in Buntu’s heart.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
Thomas Ostermier’s captivating production of Hamlet.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Pickled Onion Monster Munch.

What is your favourite word?
Cafuné – A Brazilian Portuguese word which conveys the feeling of running fingers tenderly through a loved ones hair.

What are you most passionate about?
My work.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?
Write that novel I keep harping on about.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Books.

Favourite city and why?
London – a true cultural melting pot, flavoured by all those who have arrived here over many thousands of years.

Dogs or cats?
Cats. Dogs are far too demanding.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
Ancient Greece, Athens, the birth of Democratic society and the beginnings of modern theatre and philosophy.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
The power to know exactly what my fiancée is thinking at any given time.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead runs at the Young Vic until 15 March . Returns are available in person or by phone. To find out more, click here.

11 Questions with the cast of Sizwe Banzi is Dead – Sibusiso Mamba

SizweBanzi_imageRichardHubertSmith-7438After a sell-out run last year, Sibusiso Mamba returns to the Young Vic to play Sizwe Banzi in Matthew Xia’s production of Sizwe Banzi is Dead. Here are his answers to our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in Sizwe Banzi is Dead in three words?
Scared, optimistic and defiant. 

If you had to pick a favourite line from the play, which one would it be and why?
‘You must understand one thing, we own nothing but ourselves, this world and its laws allows us nothing, except ourselves.’ Because it says so much about the human spirit and our ability to see beyond current circumstances, whatever they may be.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Chicken wings. Or anything with chicken.

What is your favourite word?
Yes.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Laughter

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
New Year’s Eve in Corsica.

Favourite city and why?
Manzini. It’s a tiny city in the centre of Swaziland. It’s where I was born and where I grew up. It holds so many precious memories and it was the cradle of all my hopes and dreams. Although, it must be said that I am falling in love with London all over again!

Dogs or cats?
It used to be dogs but now cats are working their way into my heart.

What is your favourite song?
Following the Light by Jonathan Butler.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
To be able to travel at the speed of thought. Wouldn’t it be nice to want to be some place and a thought later, you’re there!

Sizwe Banzi is Dead is on now until 15 March at the Young Vic. Returns available in person/by phone. Click here to find out more.

11 Questions with Sizwe Banzi is Dead’s Taio Lawson

Matthew Xia and Taio Lawson,  Sizwe Banzi is Dead’s Trainee Assistant Director answers our 11 Questions….

If you had to pick a favourite line from the play, which one would it be and why?
‘Her husband got arrested for that thing… I’ll tell you about it later.’ – Because it opens up a story that is never concluded. I love it.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
I can’t eat that late anymore! Got love handles to lose. However, the food I dream of at midnight is Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.

What is your favourite word?
Obfuscation. As it seems to best describe my general, everyday state of mind.

What are you most passionate about?
There are too many things! I can’t answer this without seeming facetious.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the extra 4 hours?
Fill them with appreciation of all my guilty pleasures. I would listen to Hounds of Love on repeat, watch Love Actually and as much of The Lord of the Rings as possible. And read a Lemony Snicket book. Who said men can’t multitask?

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Cup cakes from Magnolia Bakery in New York.

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
Stromboli, Italy. With my brother and father. Seeing that beautiful volcano.

Favourite city and why?
Paris. Bars are open later and it smells like the same french man has gone around the city peeing on everything. I love his dedication to the cause.

What is your favourite song?
Absolutely impossible to pick. But at the moment I have two. The Lottery by The Stepkids and The Memory by Roy Ayres.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
In the late 40s/early 50s so I could have my teens and twenties in the 60s/70s. The music was just too damn good! I would go to so many gigs! Hendrix, Miles Davis, Bobbi Humphreys, Chich, Stanley Clark, Marvin… the list goes on!

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
To be able to control electronic appliances. That way I could turn on my boiler from my bed when I’m trying to get cosy. Or turn the TV off without having to search for the remote, which I always lose. In fact, the ability to always find the remote control!

Taio Lawson is supported through the Boris Karloff Trainee Directors Programme at the Young Vic.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead is on now until 15 March at the Young Vic. Click here to book now or find out more

The reviews are in for Sizwe Banzi is Dead

Photo by Richard Hubert Smith

Photo by Richard Hubert Smith

As well as checking out what the critics think of Sizwe Banzi is Dead, click here to read all about what audiences have been saying about the show too.

★★★★
“Xia’s stylishly stark, brilliantly acted production is extraordinary.”
The Times 

★★★★
“A gripping triumph.”
The Daily Telegraph – Read the full review here.

★★★★
“A fine revival of a classic.”
Metro – Read the full review here.

★★★★
“A spiky apartheid masterpiece.”
Time Out – Read the full review here.

★★★★
“Extraordinary warmth and wit.”
Exeunt –
Read the full review here.

★★★★
“A pleasure to watch.”
Whatsonstage.com – Read the full review here.

“Terrific performances.”
The Guardian – Read the full review here.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead runs at the Young Vic until 15 March. To book tickets click here or call 020 7922 2922.

11 Questions with the cast of Sizwe Banzi is Dead – Tonderai Munyevu

Tonderai Munyevu and Sibusiso Mamba in rehearsals for Sizwe Banzi is Dead. Photo by Richard Hubert Smith.

Tonderai Munyevu and Sibusiso Mamba in rehearsals for Sizwe Banzi is Dead. Photo by Richard Hubert Smith.

Following a sell-out run in 2013, Tonderai Munyevu returns to the Young Vic to play Styles and Buntu in Matthew Xia’s production of Sizwe Banzi is Dead.

Can you describe your characters, Styles and Buntu, in Sizwe Banzi is Dead in three words?
Styles: Dapper, alert, thriving.
Buntu: Strong, compassionate, willing.  

 If you had to pick a favourite line from the play, which one would it be and why?
‘His face was weather beaten, lined with experience.’

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Structure, theme, drive – perfection.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Chicken wings.

What is your favourite word?
Sure.

What are you most passionate about?
Equality and fairness – especially when it comes to education.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
My friends and family.

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
A very short break in Sydney. Beaches and partying combined in one place.

Dogs or cats?
Dogs – preferably cream and fluffy.

What is your favourite song?
Jesus Loves Me (any gospel version) and Dreams by Fleetwood Mac.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
To heal wounds, everyone would be excited to see me.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead is on now until 15 March at the Young Vic. Click here to book now or find out more.

More new shows announced for 2014…

Today we announce 4 fantastic new shows for 2014.

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead Sizwe150x150
6 February – 1 March

Following a sell-out run earlier this year, we are thrilled to be welcoming Sizwe Banzi is Dead back to the Young Vic in 2014. Award-winner Matthew Xia directs Fugard’s momentous, Tony-nominated play which exposing the struggle for freedom and identity in apartheid-era South Africa.

OhMySweetLand146x146Oh My Sweet Land
9 April – 3 May

This urgent and extraordinary show explores the crisis in Syria through the stories of its 2 million refugees. German-Syrian actor Corinne Jaber, who was last in London with her production of The Comedy of Errors for Shakespeare’s Globe’s World Shakespeare Festival, joins forces with director Amir Nizar Zuabi (The Beloved, I Am Yusuf and This Is My Brother) for this UK premiere.

SafeHouse146x146Safe House
28 April – 17 May

Featuring stories of quiet triumphs and
heart-breaking defeats, this extraordinary sensory installation from artists Jeremy Herbert and Gabriella Sonabend invites you to explore the most fragile human moments. This is a free installation that audiences are invited to experience individually.

RedForest146x146Red Forest
12 June – 5 July

The award-winning Belarus Free Theatre return to the Young Vic to explore the profound impact of environmental change through the lens of local myths and legends. Incorporating true stories and native folklore from Belarus, Brazil, Nigeria and India, Red Forest weaves together a tapestry of stories to create a new legend of man and nature.

To book now or to find out more, click here.