The atmosphere as I entered the foyer of the Oval House was electric. I Stand Corrected takes place at the wedding of black lesbian couple Zodwa Ndlovu and Charlie Browning in Cape Town and one is immediately swept up into the celebration as champagne bottles pop and exuberant African music blares.
And yet, upon being led to our seats, the jubilant mood completely evaporates as the stark message behind this cheery facade emerges. Suddenly it is haunting, almost sinister. A simple wedding dress held up by balloons sways gently in the breeze, surrounded by gloom. Mamela Nyamza as Zodwa appears, wrestling with a dustbin. For this is the tomb given to her by the men that raped and murdered her the night before her wedding to Charlie. As Zodwa’s agony unfolds, we watch Mojisola Adebayo as Charlie attempting to calm her wedding guests only to crumble as the truth unravels.
Charlie’s wit, her quick fire responses to the prejudices faced by her brings a great addition of comedy to the production. Moments such as her comparisons between the unnaturalness of her wedding and the unnaturalness of the plane that flew them to Cape Town are both well delivered and expertly underpin the absurdity of those against her.
And yet the real strength of this production is in its contrasts; with every laugh there is an anguished cry that echoes behind at the injustice of it all. This is best captured in the contrast between the two performers, Adebayo’s nervous energy and constraint masking the anger and outrage that fuels everyone of Nyamza’s tortured movements, the visceral reaction behind the speech.
I Stand Corrected interweaves comedy, movement and dance to create a battle cry. The injustice of crimes against women such as Zodwa, that are swept away with pitifully short prison sentences, if at all, burns through this entire piece and exudes an energy that sweeps up its entire audience.