I want to introduce you all to some new people in my life. They are four young, fresh and talented people and I am so excited that I am getting to know them now, at this important stage of their young careers. Rendani Mufamadi, Motheo Madisa, Melanie Aiff and Trent Rowe are their names. All four of them are Honours students in Live Performance at AFDA and I have been working with them on their workshopped production that they will take to the NAF this year (sadly the student festival is no more).
We started with nothing. I asked them what they would like to do on stage and each one of them gave me a different goal and desire. So we started to play, and play, and play. We improvised, we told each other stories, we made up stories, we shared interesting moments from our complicated lives, we played out moments in each other’s stories and we laughed, hard and often.
And slowly, not always easily, but over time, our play emerged. There is so much that is cutting edge about this production that we have all been struggling to describe it. It is called Confession Sessions, a name we were hurried into choosing because the NAF forms needed to be filled out. Luckily the name is still valid (even if the student festival itself isn’t, sadly).
Our play is about 3 superheroes and a side kick (currently out of work), and it revolves around who they are and what they do. It is set in a parallel, dystopian South Africa. These guys have big problems; like we all do. In a series of monologues and scenes, we meet them, discover their super powers, the people they have helped, some of their parents, and we attend the funeral of a fallen superhero. This gives each performer a chance to play their main character and a bunch of subsidiary characters, to much delight.
Very influenced by the style and genre of mockumentary films, we decided to see if we could translate this form into a stage performance. What this has ended up being is a series of snapshot scenes and monologues that don’t tell a linear story, but, rather, introduce us to the characters and the world they inhabit.
The result is this strange, charming, moving and hilarious piece of completely original theatre. It has been difficult to trust it all the time, because it is so new and different. But I am so proud of it. We open in exactly two weeks, as part of AFDA’s Experimental Fest. We have shows on Thursday 16 June at 2100, Saturday 18 June at 1700, and a matinee on Sunday 19 June at 1300.
Please come. I would love this work to be seen.