WARONA. Ukwanda Puppets and Design. Directed by Thando Doni. Previewing at Theatre Arts Admin Collective before the NAF.


I did the best thing to honour youth day. I sat transfixed in a theatre, watching a puppet of a young girl, Warona, suffer the terrible circumstances of where she lives, and her addiction to drugs. Not fun. Not redemptive. Very bleak, and hauntingly true. This is a story without a happy ending.

Ukwanda Puppets and Design and Thando Doni have created this theatrical vision of a world, a poverty bound township far away from the CBD, where hopes and dreams are crushed, and a child’s potential turns to an addiction that is inescapable.

Haunting and vivid tale

The striking set is jail bars on wheels, a corrugated shack land with a butcher as a feature. Giant foamy slabs of read meat dominate. The cast of six switch fluidly between the task of puppeteer and performer, chorus and character, to tell this haunting and vivid story.

This production combines a heartfelt cautionary tale, excellent puppets and puppeteering (I thought the dogs were terrifying and amazing), superb and seamless teamwork and an attention to detail that will keep an audience believing and emotionally connected.

Warona is sad, beautiful and tragic. It offers no solution beyond being a terrible warning.

What: Warona

 Where and when: Theatre Arts Admin Collective on 20 and 21 June. Hot soup and baked goods for sale at the venue

Tickets: Online or via artsadmin@mweb.co.za