NewFoundLand is the latest play by Neil Coppen and focuses on the intertwining lives and dreams of two South African men Jacques: an Afrikaans anesthetist based in a Pietermartizburg community hospital and Sizwe: a choreographer and student at UKZN who has received a calling (Ukuthwasa) from his ancestors to become a Sangoma.
Both men have been raised in conservative communities and are attempting to forge spaces for themselves separate from the cultural, historical and religious forces that seem to bind them to the past.
When Jacques and Sizwe meet for a casual sex hook-up, what is meant to be a brief exchange turns into a profound journey into shared consciousness, and an exploration into the seemingly invisible materials that exist between religion and science, medicine and faith and memory and forgetting.
Coppen’s play has been described as a hallucinatory and unusual exploration of sexuality,love and loneliness in contemporary South Africa, and asks the question is forgetting a way of healing or an ultimate form of denial?
NewFoundLand has been developed in conjunction with Britain’s premiere playwriting Institute: The Royal Court and Coppen was recently invited to London for a staged reading of his work at the theatre as part of the New Plays from South Africa: after 20 Years of Democracy program.