Zimbabwean in Vancouver play
By Showbiz Writer
Vancouver based Zimbabwean thespian Clayton Pasi Gunguwo will starting later this month star in an Arthol Fugard play The Train Driver that will run in Canada until April.
Gunguwo who has immense experience in theatre and arts from working alongside greats like the late Simon Shumba aka Mutirowafanza and Continueloving Mhlanga of Amakhosi Arts will play Simon, a gravedigger who assits a train driver in identifying victims of an accident that he has been involved in.
According to Gunguwo, Roelf, the driver spends weeks trying to identify his unfortunate victims he killed on the tracks between Philippi and Nyanga on South Africa’s Cape Flats and meets Simon who assist in unburdening him.
Based on a true story, Athol Fugard’s beautiful and haunting The Train Driver is a soulful exploration of guilt, suffering, redemption, and the powerful bonds that grow between strangers which South Africa’s Sunday Times described as: “Brave, confrontational and tender… Essential theatre viewing…”
The play is directed by New York born Adam Henderson who is also a teacher at Vancouver Film School.
Born in Zimbabwe, Gunguwo grew up on the dusty streets of Mbare under the care of a single mother and says he feels lucky to have met Mutirowafanza and Mlhanga who “immersed him in the world of film and theatre training and intensive apprenticeship”.
Over the last four decades he has worked in several countries among them Zimbabwe, Canada, Cuba, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Israel and U.S.A.
Gunguwo appeared in the country’s first condoms commercial and has been creating “an integrated interdisciplinary platform for his talents and gifts”.
He said he has deep passion to bring “voices and images that express a belonging at the same time celebrating human and geographical diversity that allow us to understand another through art”.
Among his major theatre highlights are being creator and director of Muti Usina Zita in Vancouver, Lumumba (associate producer-New York), Super Patriots and Morons (director-Vancouver) and Who stole the ghetto from the people (creator and director Israel).
He is also working on another theatre project titled Blisters of Chimurenga that focuses on the current economic chaos in Zimbabwe while the story swivels around love, power and revenge.
Tickets for the show can be bought on http://unitedplayers.com/Pages/Season.html#TrainDriver.
Gunguwo says he remembers his experience starting off humble with Mutirowafanza when few considered arts an industry.
“We would go and rehearse in the bush (kubani). I remember my first play with him I had to do only one line but we would spend the whole day just rehearsing that one line teaching me how to connect my emotions to a character I was playing,” he said.
Afterwards he had a chance to work with Mhlanga who would teach him “essential tricks and dramatic forms to mirror” one’s own community particularly politics.
“For me these two were successful in being able to develop stories that were not donor driven however having been able to work with professional and talented thespians around I think the biggest area where Zimbabwe still needs to catch up is investing in stagecraft. There are so many projects I have seen in Zimbabwe that I have watched where directors never pay attention to it,” he added.
He said funds permitting he hopes to have the play Train Driver will be able to tour Zimbabwe in 2018.