Explore identity and adaptation with ‘The Creole Chameleon’

Tamsyn Alexander, Kwanele Lamula, Malefu Mutsi and Nancy Nkatshela. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A passionate Theatre Making student pursuing an Honours postgraduate degree at the University of the Free State (UFS), Tamsyn Alexander, is hosting a production, titled The Creole Chameleon.

This innovative and thought-provoking play is part of the larger I/We/Them production, showcasing the creativity and talent of the Honours Theatre Making cohort of 2023.

The Creole Chameleon explores the performativity of the coloured identity in South Africa, using the framework of the Population Registration Act of 1950.

Under Tamsyn’s direction, the play takes a satirical and absurdist approach to question the notion of racial identity. According to her, the play forces the audience to confront their fixed perceptions of self and others based on race.

“The Creole Chameleon challenges the notion of self and others by presenting a scenario where individuals can change their racial identity as easily as changing a costume. This premise forces the audience to question the fixed and often deeply ingrained perceptions of self and others, based on race,” said Tamsyn.

She added that what sets this production apart is its satirical and absurd exploration of identity and adaptation.

“The chameleon symbolises the fluidity of identity and the lengths individuals might go to, to adapt to their environment or societal expectations, even at the expense of their true selves. The satirical and absurd elements offer multiple layers of interpretation while addressing racial identity directly. It can also be seen as a commentary on the performative nature of identity in general, including gender, class, and social status,” she said.

The I/We/Them production is directed by Tamsyn, Alpharita de Leeuw, Rethabile Liphoko, Lelethu Tshangela, and Tumi Riet.

The audience can expect a rollercoaster of emotions during and after the performance. Laughter, empathy, and discomfort will be part of the experience as characters grapple with their changing identities.

I/We/Them takes place on 14 and 15 September at the Scaena Theatre, UFS. The production starts at 18:00 and admission is free. Follow @UFStheatre on Facebook and Instagram for more information.

Justine Fortuin