Sainthood can be described as a short yet powerful and entertaining play that lends itself to the role of an interrogator of not only our private school environment, but also the larger society.
Written and directed by Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni, Sainthood follows five ‘saints’ boys who attend a fictional all-boys private school called St Gabriel’s. All of them in their final year, the play focuses on a serious incident that took place at the school, involving the boys, and the series of personal events that lead to the investigation of this incident. Themes such as racism, sexuality and mental health form part and parcel of this whirlwind experience as each of these boys face themselves, their school and society.
From the very beginning of the play, you are catapulted into this story as Mashifane wa Noni manages to capture the tension of the space with the energetic choreography and the use of the human voice, beyond just delivering dialogue. The young and talented cast of UCT students and graduates bring the story to life in ways that seem so natural and authentic to the issues they are trying to convey, with a little bit of humour that keeps the audience engaged.
Sainthood does not deliver a new narrative but rather pushes one to ask more questions of the untouched territory of private schools, particularly in the context of South Africa. The themes covered in this short play, speaks to the very same issues that plague society on a macro level but focuses on a corner of society which wields quite a great deal of power and influence in the country.
Although the play is set in a school context and targets the school-related cohort, it is certainly a play for any person seeking an enjoyable, topical and brilliant piece of theatre.