On at The Market Theatre: The Unlikely Secret Agent


At the turn of 30 years of South Africa’s democracy comes The Unlikely Secret Agent, on stage at The Market Theatre from 16 May to 2 June. The show is directed by the acclaimed Paul du Toit and is regarded as a powerful testament to the human spirit’s resilience. 

The Unlikely Secret Agent

What is The Unlikely Secret Agent about?

The Unlikely Secret Agent not only sheds light on apartheid’s horrors and police brutality but also shines a light on the unwavering spirit of those who fought for freedom.

Based on Ronnie Kasrils’ Alan Paton Award-winning book, the production follows the incredible journey of Eleanor Kasrils. Eleanor is an unassuming bookstore worker and single mother in 1960s Durban who becomes a clandestine operative for the ANC. When her lover, Ronnie Kasrils, a wanted “terrorist,” is pursued by authorities, Eleanor confronts the brutality of the Special Branch. Arrested, interrogated, and targeted by the Security Police herself, Eleanor must summon all her strength to protect her comrades and plan her escape.

“Her bravery was quiet, her suffering without self-pity,” says Playwright and director Paul du Toit. “In the face of senseless violence, she was gentle and witty.” 

The play not only commemorates South Africa’s struggle for democracy but also sheds light on gender-based violence and police brutality.

“I am thrilled that the dramatic story of a young woman’s courageous battle with the South African security police in the 1960’s, is coming to the stage… You will question yourself – could you have stood up against apartheid as this slender young woman did?, ” asks Ronnie Kasrils.

The Unlikely Secret Agent

Who stars in the play?

A captivating cast of five actors brings this important story to life. Erika Breytenbach-Marais delivers a powerful lead performance as Eleanor Kasrils, while the ensemble cast masterfully portrays a multitude of characters, showcasing the era’s complexities. The talented supporting cast includes De Klerk Oelofse, Wessel Pretorius, Sanda Shandu, and Ntlanhla Kutu.

This hard-hitting political play has garnered critical acclaim, winning prestigious awards such as the 2022 Fleur Du Cap Award for Best Director for Paul du Toit and the 2023 Fleur Du Cap Award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Play for Carlo Daniels. It was also nominated for several other Fleur Du Cap Awards and won Best Production and Best Director at the 2022 US Toyota Woordfees.

Cost: Tickets range from R120pp to R2000pp, and book via Webtickets

When: Running from 16 May to 2 June 2024. On selected days, shows at 7pm and 3pm
Where: Barney Simon stage at The Market Theatre, 56 Margaret Mcingana St, Newtown, Johannesburg

Website: markettheatre.co.za
Email: info@markettheatre.co.za
Tel: 011 832 164
Facebook: @TheMarketTheatre
Instagram: @markettheatre

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