The Imagined Land.

Last night, I went to the theatre. As I was settling down in my seat and switching my phone to silent, I noticed the couple a few rows ahead of me.

I couldn’t help notice them. He was pale and pasty. She was a redhead.

And his tongue was halfway down her throat. They were in a tight clinch, his hands were under her shirt and she was groaning like she was going to orgasm right there in row 3D.

The lights were still on. This was the Sandton theatre. A public space. A very public space.

I’m all for hand holding in public, a bit of footsie-footsie under the table, and even long delicious kisses against a dimly lit streetlamp.

In Paris. Not in a Johannesburg theatre. Especially when I’m inside that theatre.

I’d been looking forward to seeing ‘The Imagined Land’ for a long time so I really wanted to tell this couple to get a room. I was about to do just that when the lights went off and everything went quiet.

The set was beautiful; books suspended mid-air, each individually lit, like birds taking flight but words taking flight.

The play centres around an elderly white writer, her younger black biographer, his relationship with her daughter, race, stereotype, class and guilt.

It’s a very relevant play in relation to where South Africa is today.

It’s clever. It’s sassy. And it’s all about words. Finding words, making meaning of words and knowing which words to believe.

Kinda odd then, that I couldn’t find the simple words to tell this couple to fuck off.

The play was so good that I did eventually forget about them. And when the cast were taking their bow to a standing ovation and the audience were wiping their tears I noticed that they were no longer there.

Had they gone home to have sex? Had the sex been good? Why was he so pasty? How easy is it to orgasm in a chair? Was her hair naturally red?

I would never know.

A bit like the play. One never knows exactly what happens. But Imagined Lands can help us find our way.


The play stars Nat Ramabulana, Janna Ramos-Violante and Fiona Ramsay.

It’s written by Craig Higginson and directed by Malcolm Purkey.

It’s at The Auto and General Theatre on the Square, Sandton, until 12 September.

It is seriously brilliant.

4 thoughts on “The Imagined Land.

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