Book-turned-play to inspire youth at fest

Author of I AM, Luthando Lucas, is turning has adapted his book ‘I Am’ into a play to be staged at the National Arts Festival next month Picture:SUPPLIED

FORMER Hudson Park pupil Luthando Lucas is busy with turning has turned his self-published book I AM into a play for this year’s National Arts Festival.

“The book was published two years ago and it is a memoir of a black child living in despair in South Africa who who is hopeless and does not have any sense of direction,” said Lucas explained.

The book is was inspired by Lucas’s own experience, as well as that and of his friends and neighbours. He then realised that it would be a great idea to in turning the book into a theatrical piece.

Lucas grew up in a children’s home after running away from his own home and was later afforded the opportunity to attend Hudson Park High School.

“Most kids today don’t read anymore and I felt that to make this story mean something to them, youth of today, I had to incorporate different platforms art forms and make it entertaining,” he said.

The book won was a Dlamini Award winner at last year’s Richmond Book Festival.

The Tshwane University of Technology graduate tried to make made a living as a struggling artist, in which led him into writing down his life experiences.

“I found myself back in Duncan Village and just felt as if I had so much to share, and such a rich mind, but was stuck in an unforgiving setting.”

Lucas indicates he started useding his story to fuel his writing and ended up writing three books in two years. He has authored and self-published two other books, titled African Child and Poetry of My Soul, and is also currently in the process of publishing a sequel to I Am, titled The Naked Truth.

The author and artist has brought a cast of local actors, poets, dancers and musicians together to bring in making of his story to come to life on stage. The play , which will be directed by Buyile Geza.

“The play will feature musicians artists such as percussionist Siyabulela Sifatyi; dancers Unathi Xenti and Phumzile Zakaza; and hip-hop artist Masibulele Dyakophu, and will be staged in collabboration with the Gompo and Mdantsane Art Centre, the Guild Theatre and the Department of Arts and Culture,” he said.

“I chose to recreate I Am as a theatre piece, because I felt that it’s the story that resonates the most with the youth of today. It speaks to a generation of so-called ‘born-frees’ who are struggling to find their place and purpose in Mandela’s rainbow nation,” Lucas said.

I Am carries a strong message of hope in and the possibility of defying the odds to reach success.

“The goal is to create a conversation and tell people where we come from and why we’re angry, but also to show people, especially the youth, that where you come from does not have to define where you are going,” concluded Lucas.

I Am will be staged at the Grahamstown City Hall from July 2 to 4 during the National Arts Festival as part of the Fringe programme.

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