Following its sold-out premiere at the 2012 WALE Festival and subsequent season at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, The Line, written and directed by Shmukler, comes to Cape Town and stars Khutjo Green and Gabi Harris, with design by Niall Griffin and music by Charl-Johan Lingerfelder.

Recently, the play garnered Naledi nominations for Best Production of a Play, Best New South African Script, Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role (Play), Best Theatre Sound Design/Sound Effects and Best Theatre Set Design.

The Line is the culmination of multi-award-winning actor Gina Shmukler’s Master’s research on trauma and theatre making. Set against the backdrop of the South African xenophobic attacks of May 2008, the play explores the fragility of goodness and engages with both victim and perpetrator. After Shmukler had spent several months in the townships in Johannesburg, The Line was constructed from a series of interviews with South Africans involved in, or affected by, these attacks. It explores the process of perpetration from neighbour to violent foe and attempts to re-humanise both the perpetrator and victim. Furthermore, it investigates what it is that makes good people do bad things and how the line is so easily crossed in the process. The textual construct of the play is known as verbatim theatre, where the words of the interviewees are used as they were spoken.

“In 2008, two weeks after the attacks began in Alexandra township, I participated in an anti-xenophobia march in Johannesburg,” explains Shmukler. “Thousands of people gathered to protest and make their voices heard. Walking through downtown Johannesburg and looking up at the multi-storey buildings, I will never forget the image of people standing at their windows or on their balconies holding white sheets symbolic of peace. How was it possible that attacks of this nature could happen in the new South Africa?”

She continues, “When I first began my creative research in 2010, I interviewed a researcher in the field of migrant studies to whom I had been referred. When I expressed my shock at the attacks, she coldly implied that I was most ignorant as she reckoned that it was an event waiting to happen. I left her office slightly ashamed yet more certain that I wanted, through my research, to understand how the attacks had happened. What is the seemingly swift process from neighbour to violent foe? How do we prevent this from happening again?”

Shmukler received Naledi and Fleur du Cap nominations for her performance as Donna in the musical, Mamma Mia. She was the voice of M-Net Series, the South African producer for Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature at The Market Theatre Laboratory and was nominated for a Naledi Award for Best Cutting Edge/Ensemble production.

She was awarded the national theatre award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Master Class, Best Performance in a Musical for Blues Brothers and a nomination for Love, Crime, and Johannesburg. She also received the award for Best Newcomer for her role as Sinbad in Sinbad’s African Adventures. Her one-woman show, Silk Ties, was performed throughout South Africa, as well as in Namibia and Toronto, earning nominations for Best Script and Best Director. She has directed iNje, Callback, Lost in the Stars, Killer Queen, (Overtone) Songs for a New World and Brer Rabbit. She recently directed the sold-out season of Beautiful Creatures and the critically acclaimed The Last Five Years. Internationally, Shmukler has performed in Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Showboat, Judith, Missionaries, Yerma, Journey to Benares and The Violence Project, Salt Chocolate, Murder, Hidden Voices (directed by Tony Award winner Terence Mann), Anyone One Can Whistle, Secret Garden, Mame, On the Town. In New York, she most recently played the role of Amina in the award-winning independent film, Arranged.

Niall Griffin is an award-winning theatrical designer in set, costume and lighting. His impressive list of credits includes Shirley Valentine; Romeo and Juliet; Pygmalion; the international hit play, Some Girls; Cinema Wow; Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars; Alan Swerdlow’s Tuesdays with Morrie; the national tour of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; the critically acclaimed Broadway musical, The Last Five Years; and The Vagina Monologues. Recently he designed a major international musical staged in Shanghai, China entitled Ultimate Broadway, starring four leading musical-theatre celebrities from Broadway and the West End.

Popular composer and musical director, Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, has been nominated eleven times for the Naledi Awards in Johannesburg and won an award for Evita. This year is a prolific one for Lingenfelder, who has received nominations for his work on the musical, Dirty Dancing and The Line (Naledi Awards in Johannesburg) as well as for Fred Abrahamse’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Kingdom of Earth. He is currently studying Cinematic Orchestration, recording a solo album and writing a new musical. In 2013 he will be musically supervising a new production of The Rocky Horror Show at the Fugard Theatre and the South African premiere of Sunset Boulevard for Pieter Toerien Productions. He won a Vita Award as performer for his portrayal of EmCee in Marthinus Basson’s production of Cabaret.

The Line has an age restriction of 14 and parental guidance is advised. The play opens on Tuesday, 2 April and runs until Sunday, 7 April. Tickets cost R120 and booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. Performances on Tuesday, 2; Wednesday, 3; and Thursday, 4 April are at 19:00; on Friday, 5 April, performances are at 11:00 and 18:00, on Saturday, 6 April, performances are at 11:00 and 17:00 and on Sunday, 7 April, the performance is at 11:00.