Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Richard Mkhuseli Tafane

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.

Capturing Sanity

There is only this week left to see the GIPCA and Baxter Theatre’s emerging director’s bursary award production at The Theatre Arts Admin Collective. Of the four full productions that we saw this weekend I was the most impressed and satisfied with this one.

Capturing Sanity is devised work, directed by young Jozi director Pusetso Thibedi and his cast Thando Doni, Nieke Lombard and Richard Mkhuseli Tafane. It’s about three people who are in an institution, searching for sanity and what will make them ‘normal’ and functioning again.

Thibedi has done great things with this talented, committed and enthusiastic cast. It is obvious that they all trust each other and were able to push boundaries together. This means that there are many poignant, emotional, raw and touchingly funny moments that are shared with an audience, and the play drew me in. It was also delicious to see such accomplished performances from fresh performers.

Effective use of the very few lights in the Methodist Hall, good staging (except for the endless dragging around of the steps), simple design elements and costume all pulled the piece together in a very satisfying, unifying whole.

This production took a little too long to get started, but once it got going I was completely there with it, and I really, really enjoyed it.

Now here’s the deal. It is on every night this week at 1930. There is an extra matinee performance on Saturday. The tickets are so cheap you will not notice that you have paid. Please, make an effort to see this work. There is good talent. It’s a good story. It is young and fresh and interesting. And it will keep you thinking. To make a booking, please contact the Theatre Arts Admin Collective on 021 447 3683 or email


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