Tonight with Lester Podcast

4.48 Psychosis


Guest : Zamah Nkonyeni 

Zamah Nkonyeni is a postgraduate student at the University of Cape Town's Centre for
Theatre Dance and Performance Studies. She holds a B.Dram in Acting and Performance
studies and is a trained voice artist, performer, writer and director.
Zamah is concurrently interested in and researching the psychosomatic effects of
memory and loss in Theatre and Voice studies; as well as, directing a transposition of
Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis.
As a young black womxn, she is exploring what Kane's text may mean in contemporary
South Africa's sociopolitical landscape, which is especially pertinent given the scourge
and ramifications of SGBV; as well as, the increase in awareness for mental health
because the play text engages with a perspective view of the turmoil experienced when
living with mental illness(es).
The play is played by a person with clinical depression, a disorder from which
Kane suffered. She committed suicide after writing the play, before its initial
performance. Rather than claiming that it tries to cover depression as a whole, it might
be fairer on the text to say that it is a very subjective presentation of depression, giving
the audience an insight into one particular case (or perhaps providing specifics on
several individual cases), but while reflecting her mental state is explicitly detached
from Kane herself. Contemplation and discussion of suicide are prominent and while
there is no strict narrative or timeline, certain issues and events are clearly dealt with:
deciding whether to take medication to treat depression, the desires of the depressed
mind, the effects and effectiveness of medication, self-harm, suicide and the possible
causes of depression. Other themes that run throughout the script, in addition to
depression, are those of isolation, dependency, relationships, and love, but they become
aggressive, then powerless.
4.48 Psychosis will be on at The Arena Theatre at UCT's Hiddingh campus from the 24th
of October.

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