This Cape Flats meisie says she had no idea her play would bag an award so soon, and on a national level nogal.
Faith Kinniar’s play Syria? won a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the recent National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown.
“It was a great learning experience,” says an excited Faith.
“It was interesting to see how well the show was received with the different audiences and it made me aware of how powerful and necessary the message of the play is.”
The soft-spoken young woman from Bellville South appeared in the Daily Voice in June when she introduced her production, which she wrote and stars in herself.
Faith, 25, says she created her thought-provoking play against the backdrop of rising Islamaphobia, ongoing war in the Middle East, and global terrorist attacks, and how ordinary Muslims are affected by it.
The production, directed by Rafiek Mammon, was chosen by the Artscape Theatre to run at the NAF as part of its New Voices Programme.
Faith played three characters in Syria? – Valencia, a mom who tries to get a Pakistani boy, Waleef, expelled from school; Latifah, Waleef’s well-educated mom; and Lauren, Valencia’s daughter who befriends Waleef despite her mom’s prejudice.
The Standard Bank Ovation Award is awarded to new productions that are on the fringe (not on the main programme of the festival) that are deemed to be of a high standard.
“More than two hundred productions premiered on the Fringe at The National Arts Festival this year, it was no easy feat for the Ovations Awards panel to make their way through the festival’s theatres to select work that stood out and made audiences stand up,” it said in a statement.
Faith says she was amazed at how well the show was received by the diverse audiences.
“There were people who were Muslim, Christian and non-religious, who spoke to us afterward and expressed the importance of the play’s message,” she says.
“There were also a lot of people from Western countries such as the US and the UK who were particularly affected by the play.”
Faith says she hopes to take her play to other festivals in future and is hoping for another run at the Artscape Theatre soon.