BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
February 15-19, $24-$80
Cape Town’s Isango Ensemble specializes in adapting Western works with a South African sensibility; since 2000, director Mark Dornford-May and music director Pauline Malefane have presented such classics as A Christmas Carol, The Magic Flute, La bohème, and Aesop’s Fables. The troupe has now teamed up with the Young Vic for A Man of Good Hope, based on Jonny Steinberg’s book about Asad, a young man who becomes a refugee because of the civil war in Mogadishu in the early 1990s. “I felt a whim rising. A man who can break a twig and take me with him to another world, I thought, is a man about whom I ought to write a book,” Steinberg explains in a program note about meeting Asad. The protagonist is played by Ayanda Tikolo, Siposethu Juta, Phielo Makitle, Zoleka Mpotsha, and Luvo Tamba at different stages of his life. Directed by May, with musical direction by Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis, movement by Lungelo Ngamlana, and lighting by Mannie Manim, the show features music and dance built around the marimba. A Man of Good Hope runs February 15-19; on February 18 at 5:30 ($20), Ethiopian American writer Dinaw Mengestu will join Steinberg and Iranian American writer and moderator Roya Hakakian for the PEN America panel discussion “Reflecting on the Refugee Crisis” at BAM Fisher’s Fishman Space.