Selwyn and Gabriel: Layers and Lessons


Selwyn and Gabriel is a jarring representation of the importance of speaking out. Silence that leaves one empty opens the door to tragic consequences. It highlights the power of the possibilities created when one finds their voice. Redemption and rebirth are necessary for every aspect of our lives.

In this layered and multi-dimensional piece, the audience is introduced to Gabriel (Mbulelo Grootboom) as an electrician/inspector/could be policeman in Selwyn’s (Kai Lake Brummer) house. Raising feelings of being intruded on, the audience is cautious in its laughter and waits to understand why this man is in Selwyn’s house.

Selwyn and Gabriel. Photo by Toby Ngomane

Even in this uncomfortable reality of a stranger being in his house, Selwyn opens up a lot more to Gabriel than he ever has to anyone in his life: revealing that he dislikes his job, is complacent with his friends and is feeling empty. More of a question than a lesson: How many of us live lives we hate and never say a thing?

The actors’ chemistry was palpable. Every revelation between them, every pause and every humorous moment had the audience eating out of their hands.

The first layer is revealed to the audience when Selwyn leaves his dreams and aspirations form empty. Shocked to see this, Gabriel sets out to remind him that he can do anything he puts his mind to, regardless of how it may look or sound to other people. A lesson one needs to constantly reinforce with age. Our lives aren’t meant to be perfect shows for the people around us to watch. They need to be reflections of our own dreams and aspirations to ourselves. That brings the most joy.

Sewlyn and Gabriel. Photo by Toby Ngomane

Our friends need to support us on the multiple journeys we may find ourselves on at any time. They need to reflect at the very least, some of the values we hold most dear to us. By doing so, we are able to be vulnerable with them. Selwyn and Gabriel taught us that we cannot sacrifice our peace and sanity for loyalty to someone else, a lesson that settles quickly and heavily on the audience.

Everyone deserves to live their truth. Gabriel’s sacrifice to let Selwyn live his truth is powerful but not possible for everyone. Which is why we all have the responsibility to let everyone around us live their truth. Terrifying for him as it may be for anyone, Selwyn not only gets his life back literally, he sets out to live it, a lesson we all need to learn and relearn daily.

Catch Selwyn and Gabriel at the Princess Alice Hall on 7 July at 20:30

By Karabo Baloyi