Last year postgraduate computer science student at Rhodes Susan Hansen wanted to show craftswomen at the Egazini Art Centre in Joza how to use the internet to sell their wares. But when it became apparent that people who didn't really know what the internet was didn't care about what it could do for them, Hansen devised a plan.
She came up with the idea of creating a piece of theatre to educate people in their language about how the internet could make their lives easier.
Then Interplay was born, the story of late local artist Feziwe Diko's widow, Fafa, who finds out that she can use the internet to market her husband's artworks. Other characters, like the shifty Webster, come to realise that by using the internet they too can further themselves without having to turn to crime.
After performing Interplay for the women at Egazini, script writer Thozi Ngeju of the Rhodes Computer Science Department, said interest in the play grew so much that they took it to schools and performed at the National Arts Festival.
Even the six local actors in Interplay say they have learnt a great deal from it. They are Sindi Dingana, Majiza Phikasande, Thandiswa Tsili, Xolela Tsili, Mzwanele Jodwana and Lindisipho Swartbooi.
Then Port Elizabeth based arts foundation, the Swallows Partnership, found out about the show and thought it would be perfect to take to rural areas.
During the past two weeks, Swallows facilitators Mfundo Zono and Mojalefa Koyana, came to Grahamstown to help make Interplay more appealing to younger audiences. On Friday afternoon the freshest version of the play went to local primary schools CM Vellem and NV Cewu.
One NV Cewu teacher said she believed it had taught the children a lot, and although a handful of kids spent half of the duration chatting to their friends, an equal number shushed them so that they could hear what was going on.
After the performances Rhodes PhD student and ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) researcher Mathe Maema said of the idea behind Interplay, It's about promoting multi-literacy and saying that digital or computer literacy is just as important as reading and writing.
Maema said she believed drama was a way to bridge the digital divide and transform society.