“The Kwasha Theatre Company brings Boris Vian’s ‘The Empire Builders’ to life with an immersive audio experience that will be available for audiences to enjoy from home for the month of February 2021”

Sit comfortably (whether you find yourself in a chair, a couch, a bed , in a park, a library, at home, in South Africa or elsewhere), plug in to your headphones, connect on www.empirebuildersinsa.org and get ready for an audio journey that will bring you straight into the shrinking apartment of a strange family with “The Empire Builders”.

Boris Vian’s “The Empire Builders”, by Kwasha! Theatre Company, is an audio experience produced by an exceptional team of creatives, and brought to you by the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), and the Market Laboratory.
This binaural audio play, which takes the shape of 3 episodes of 20min each, will be available as a free and open access online experience via www.empirebuildersinsa.org throughout the month of February 2021. This online experience is an ideal way to enjoy a theatre play despite the current lockdown restrictions.

With sound captured and designed by celebrated sound designer Yogin Sullaphen, the piece promises to create a crisp and exciting world to take the audience on a journey within their own imaginations. The process of directing such a play has been quite experimental for director Dintshitile Mashile, as the recording took place on a real theatre stage, with actors performing in costumes. Mashile recreated the sensation of a shrinking space, playing with a delineated space on stage which gave birth to a whole atmosphere that used the actors movements, choreography, props and sound effects to enhance the audiences imagination and sense of space. The binaural recording gives the audience a sense of the space and dimension with sound recorded by two microphones and transmitted separately into each ear.

The Empire Builders is an Absurdist tragi-comedy based on Vian’s childhood experience of the Nazi occupation; and written at a time when French colonialism in African and Asian territories was coming to an end. The play tells the story of a middle class family that is threatened by an unusual noise forcing the family members to ascend through their apartment building to progressively smaller rooms, leaving behind all the comforts they once enjoyed while maintaining a façade of calm and denial. 

Tune in to “The Empire Builders” anytime through out February by clicking through from both the IFAS (www.ifas.org.za) and The Market Theatre (www.markettheatre.co.za) websites, or directly on www.empirebuildersinsa.org

The experience is free but donations are encouraged. More details on supplementary online experiences, or how you can sponsor the experience reaching schools and communities will be released in January 2021.