By Caroline Petersen
Sainthood is the play everyone needs to see. If you’re a man you need to see Sainthood. If you’re a person who went to a single sex school you need to see Sainthood. If you’re an activist you need to see Sainthood. If you’re concerned about the current state of masculinity you need to see Sainthood. If you’re even just someone who is worried about this very generation of young people you need to see Sainthood..
Sainthood, directed by former UCT student and playwright, Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni, masterfully weaves together the narratives of five boys from an elite (fictional) all-boy school, St. Gabriel’s. There’s everything you expect from ‘the boytjies’: screaming their school song with an almost frightening amount of ‘nationalist’ pride, rivalry and competition on the academic and rugby fields, ‘locker room banter’, ridiculously bureaucratic assemblies, and of course, the hormones, sex, and titillating gossip of girls, boys, flings and secret romances.
The five actors, Adam Lennox, Tevin Musara, Mphumzi Nontshinga, Simphiwe Shabalala, and Callum McCormack, portray all-boy school culture in a raw, truthful manner. With all the jolly comradery unisex shools have to offer, Sainthood also shows off all its ugly heads. Topics of bulling, queer relationships, sexuality, racism, mental illness, rape, and suicide are all on the table. What makes these five shocking tales all the more gripping is that they’ve been created based on real interviews conducted at unisex schools. Mashifane wa Noni tells UCT News, “Adolescence is such an important developmental stage in one’s life and we spend most of it at school. And more often than not, we brush it off as something fleeting, when it can be so defining to one’s early adult character”.
As toxic masculinity has been making its rounds in the headlines of the news after the Gillette advert made a clear stance against it, the public’s feelings often remained confused and on the fence towards this unfamiliar, seemingly academic term. Sainthood talks back to that.
If your only understanding of elite, top-performing, Model-C class high schools is that it’s all rose gardens, manicured rugby fields, and tight brotherhoods; get ready for the reality of what these schools often breed: toxic men, hurt men, broken men, suppressed men. Men who often have been looking for a call out for help. Sainthood helps pass the mic to these exact men.
Students can get tickets to Sainthood for R50 because our student cards offer some sweet student discounts at The Baxter Theatre! It will be showing at The Baxter until 23 February. Book a seat to join in on the conversation.