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Sit comfortably and listen to the audio play
“The Empire Builders” by Boris Vian,
performed by Kwasha! Theatre Company.

Short audio trailer

This play is a binaural recording in three episodes.
For the best experience of it, we recommend that you use headphones, settle in and listen with your whole imagination.  Click HERE to be taken through to the free listening experience. 


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. 

While the family is constantly on an upward run, their world is increasingly narrowing; floor after floor, members of the family mysteriously leave or vanish. “The play addresses themes such as alienation, selfishness, self-deception, prejudice, memory, masculinity – & the incomprehensibility of existence and meaning”, explains director and Kwasha Theatre Company member, Dintshitile Mashile.


Director : Dinshitile Mashile 
Sound Design and Composition : Yogin Sullaphen 
Dialogue Coaches : Karina Lemmer and Mpho Malesa
Production and Company Manager : Rudy Motseatsea
Stage Managers : Lebeisa Molapo and Tiisetso Mawane-Madzhie

Produced by : The French Institute of South Africa in collaboration with the Market Theatre Laboratory and the Windybrow Arts Centre.

Performers: 
Upile Bongco as ‘Zenobia’ 
Joel Leonard as ‘Father’ 
Mosie Mamaregane as ‘Mugg’
Wonder Ndlovu as ‘Shmurz’ and ‘Neighbour’ 
Sboniso Thombeni as Mother 

The Kwasha Theatre Company 2020