Beautiful Man for Intwasa

Langalakhe Mabena 

Theatre fanatics are set to be treated to an intriguing play at this year’s Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo, as veteran theatre actor Jasen Mphepho and Farirai Borwere will display their one-hour-long two-men play titled Beautiful Man, directed by Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi.

This year’s edition of Intwasa will run from 26 to 30 September with Beautiful Man set to be staged at the Bulawayo Theatre on September 29 at 6.30pm.

Beautiful Man is an intense and dramatic play that explores the complexity and vulnerability of men. 

Taurai (character), in his mid-60s, reflects on his traumatic childhood, recounting the violence he endured from his alcoholic father. He shares the emotional toll and devastation he experienced after his mother’s death. 

Determined not to repeat the cycle of abuse, Taurai made a promise to protect his own children.

 Augustine (character), an English Literature graduate, faces challenges as he tries to make his wife happy.

Their lives (with his wife) take a turn for worse when their home is demolished and Augustine is arrested for smuggling. After his release, Augustine discovers his father is the biological father of his wife’s child, leaving him contemplating suicide. 

Both Taurai and Augustine grapple with their emotions, seeking to navigate their own journeys. 

Jasen Mphepho

The play delves into the characters’ journeys of self-discovery and self-acceptance. It explores how individuals grapple with their past, confront their inner demons, and strive to find meaning and purpose in their lives.

Despite the hardships and emotional turmoil depicted in the play, Beautiful Man also explores themes of resilience, hope, and the power of human connection. It emphasises the importance of seeking support, finding strength within one’s self, and fostering meaningful relationships as sources of healing and growth.

Jasen Mphepho said the play aims to challenge traditional stereotypes surrounding men and masculinity, exploring the vulnerabilities and emotional struggles of males. He also said that it seeks to break the notion that men should always be strong, unemotional, and unaffected by trauma.

“The play focuses mostly on men’s mental health. It delves into the psychological impact of traumatic experiences on men. It highlights how unresolved childhood trauma and life challenges can deeply affect men’s mental well-being, leading to emotional turmoil, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.

Another significant concept that the play focuses on is fatherhood and family issues. Beautiful Man touches upon the theme of fatherhood and the desire to break the cycle of abuse. It examines the complexities of familial relationships and the impact they have on shaping a person’s identity and behaviour.

“Social issues are also discussed in the play as it tackles broader social issues that can affect men, such as economic hardships, societal expectations, and the ripple effects of systemic problems. It sheds light on how external circumstances can contribute to the internal struggles faced by men,” said Mphepho.

Mphepho said on the night of the play, people should expect an atmosphere of open dialogue and discussion surrounding the themes presented in Beautiful Man

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