Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Aphiwe Menziwa

Revisiting my fab Industrial Theatre job

Aside from the fact that I am deeply thankful for the return work of my long-term client (I have been making industrial theatre plays for them for seven years now) I also love it. We are into our second week of rehearsals, and this time around it’s a full-on musical. I know. I know. Completely silly, crazy and foolhardy. A thirty five minute, five-hander musical with a message. But I have an amazing cast; repeat offenders Ntombi Makhutshi, Larissa Hughes and Daneel van der Walt, and newbies Richard Tafane and Aphiwe Menziwa. They are a magical, creative and delicious team.

We had our first client viewing today; scripts in hand and gaps in places, and still, the cast were power, and blew the client away.

I know that a lot of actors see industrial theatre as a necessary evil; a chance to pay the bills, but for me it is a chance to take the target audience into consideration right at the outset, and then to go about making them something that they will love. The details are taken care of, and all we have to do is make a beautiful, entertaining, clearly messaged show. Isn’t that what every writer, director and performer wants? When it’s made my cast go around the country, performing to huge audiences who go completely crazy for them.

This time around I have to thank Trevor du Buisson for making the most amazing backing tracks, and Fiona du Plooy for awesome, hilarious and wonderful choreography. I can feel it. This one is a winner.

Most Magical Mhla Salamana (When our Eyes Met)

This will be the first time I ever write about a play that moved me to tears even though I hardly understood a word. Mhla Salamana is one of this year’s offerings at the Baxter Theatre’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival, directed by Thando Doni with Aphiwe Menziwa, Mkhuseli Tafane, Asanda Rilityana and with awesome acapela soundscape by  Muzik Sensation.

It tells the all too familiar story of how a beautiful relationship can go wrong, with misunderstanding leading to abuse and violence, and how children are so badly damaged by the friction of their parents. In this case it is how this story is told by the brilliant cast and musicians that makes it in turns hilarious, delightful, warm, clever, touching, chilling and shattering. I could not believe how deeply, profoundly affected I was as we all rose as one to give the cast a standing ovation. Storytelling, physical theatre and stylized movement heighten the content, but it is the characterisation and connection between the three characters that is absolutely superb.

Mhla Salamana was the only Zabalaza show I saw this festival, but if this doesn’t get a full run I don’t know what will. Brilliant, original, moving, totally exciting local theatre. Bravo Thando, Richard, Asanda, Aphiwe and Muzik Sensation.

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