Actor Khetani Michael Banda, who is also Charles Austin Theatre's current Artistic Director, was last month selected by the International Theatre Institute of Zimbabwe to represent the country at the Dodona International Collaborative Project which was staged in Greece on the 20th of July 2016. The project had actors and actresses from Chile, France, Germany, Sweden, Egypt, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Greece performing scenes from classic Greek tragedies written by Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus. The two-hour production directed by Greek director Vasilis Kontaxis was performed at the 2500 year-old Dodona amphitheatre and was attended by an audience of 2000 people.
Khetani Michael Banda was chosen to play Oedipus in Oedipus Tyrant, written by Sophocles, which is considered to be Greek literature's greatest tragedy. The play tells the unfortunate tale of a young man who unknowingly kills his father and sleeps with his mother. After discovering the truth in horror Oedipus, now king of the kingdom that used to be of the man he murdered, then stabs out his eyes; "When he could see he was blind of the truth, but when he was blind he could now see the truth." Khetani performed the scene when Oedipus gouges out his eyes and addresses the men of his court and his people in confusion, shock and anger. Since each actor/actress was expected to perform his or her text in the native language of his or her country Khetani performed in Shona.
When asked to comment on the experience Khetani had this to say," Participating in the Dodona International Collaborative Project will be a highlight in my creative and spiritual life forever. I got to work with actors and actresses all over the world, most of whom had over 20 years of experience. I learnt a lot from them about how an artist should stay motivated on and off stage. The greatest joy however was performing in my mother language, Shona, in one of the oldest and most sacred theatres ever built. Just hearing Shona resounding through the audience was a God-given honour. And the hospitality of Greek people was absolutely amazing. I'm happy to be back home and utilize the energy that I absorbed there for local theatre projects. And I'm really looking forward to travelling more."
Khetani is now back at the Charles Austin Theatre and said he is currently working on a play production for August. To get more information on the Charles Austin Theatre join its Facebook page Friends of the Charles Austin Theatre or simply visit the venue.