School of Arts

UKZN Drama Student Directs Tragicomedy Production Serve ‘n Nuts

The cast of Serve ‘n Nuts with the director Ms Saranya Devan.
The cast of Serve ‘n Nuts with the director Ms Saranya Devan.

Honours student in Drama and Performance Studies Ms Saranya Devan directed the tragicomedy production Serve ‘n Nuts – a tale of painful emotions candy-coated with humour and drama.

The show premiered at the Space Theatre on the Howard College campus and was an instant hit with audiences.

The play lifts the lid on three office colleagues – the typical Indian ‘aunty’ Munniamma Moonsamy aka Sue Moon-samy, the stuck-up boss Yvonne Fortoen, who comes from a bi-racial background, and the happy-go-lucky spoilt African boy living an Afrikaner life, Jonothan aka Nkosinathi (his ‘Zulu’ birth name).

All three ‘serve’ their emotions with a made-up persona that sometimes sound nutty, hence the play’s title after a savoury snack.

Playing the lead characters are third year Drama and Criminology student Ms Elisha Shalom Chetty (Munniamma Moonsamy), third year Drama and Music Student Ms Lihle Ngubo (Yvonne Fortoen), and second year Drama and Music student Mr Vukile Ngwenya (Nkosinathi van Niekerk).

The idea for the production materialised from Devan’s personal experience of noticing and dealing with people who have twangs in their voices.

‘The central theme of the play is that there is no need to put on an accent and adopt strange mannerisms, if only to please “other” people,’ said Devan.

‘One should strive to be oneself – and natural – otherwise life can be painful, even in the most ordinary situations. In the play, Sue Moon-samy wants to create an image and battles to eat a bunny chow with a fork and knife, all the time yearning to eat with her fingers.     

‘One of the qualities that drew me to directing this play was the overwhelming support I received from my supervisors. Thereafter, the enjoyment increased as I saw the actors give of their best in terms of enthusiasm and bringing the characters to life. Thank you Lihle, Elisha and Vukile.’

When Devan began working on Serve ‘n Nuts, she hoped to share, with a group of friendly strangers, the joy, laughter, a sense of togetherness, and most importantly, the message of the play: embrace your true self.

‘At the end of the day we are all human beings and that is what should matter. It is not important how we dress, how we speak and what we eat.

‘It’s about time we stand up for our own identity in today’s society. I am sure that together we can all relate to the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that our actors strive to bring out through the humour and humanity of the characters they portray,’ said Devan.

Other drama students who made their directorial debuts this semester are Mr Samkelo Ngcobo, Mr Sizwe Hlophe and Ms Marcia Mzindle.

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