Mike van Graan talks food security, class and gender explored in his new play

Commissioned by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security (CoE), Another One's Bread explores various themes related to hunger.

The theater performance sees four women (a retired teacher, an estate agent, a writer and an unemployed youth) take on a job as semi-professional mourners - ‘The Substitutes’, hired by families in Kayelitsha to do mourning activities at funerals.

Their aim? To collect food package's for school children.

The play falls within the CoE’s areas of research which consider human relationships to food, the power dynamics around food production, access and the meanings that food acquires in particular cultural and social contexts.

Eusebius McKaiser sat down with playwright Mike van Graan to discuss the relation between food security, class, gender and the business of funerals.

Part of the play is also about subtle commentary and a satirical take on the commodification of death in our country. One of the memorable lines from people from the play is when the Ma Phumla character who started the Substitutes says these people live Shoprite lives and then want to go out and buy Woolworths coffins.

Mike van Graan, playwright

I think what the play tries to show is that hunger, you cannot speak about it in and of itself - it intersects with a whole range of other things - gender, apartheid spatial geographies legacy, poverty...

Mike van Graan, playwright

It's about the theme being explored really through the relationships of these four women.

Mike van Graan, playwright

The theatre production will run until 4 February.

Click on the link below to hear more about the theater production....


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