Our new theatre baby; ‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’

Last year The Movement RSA brought you ‘Just Antigone’ and this year we’re back with a new setwork! ‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’ is inspired by Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ – the 2017 setwork for IEB Matric learners.
This is a tale of how gossip and superstition can fiercely capture the mind of a people. Looking at how myth can still live in the imagination, and for some the reality of life, this tale follows a community forced to look at its own faults and dreams.

‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’ will be on at:

National Arts Festival:
4th July – 18:00
5th July – 16:00
6th July – 22:00
7th July – 16:00
8th July – 20:00
B2 Arena
Tickets: https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/events/crucifixion-of-amagqwirha/

Wits Theatre 969 Festival:
Friday 21st July – 18:30
Tickets: https://www.wits.ac.za/witstheatre/contact-us/

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‘Tswalo’ at the Soweto Theatre

Tonight’s the preview,  and then tomorrow will be the opening night of ‘Tswalo – a narrative poem’ at the Soweto Theatre! This “narrative poem” is performed by the formidable Billy Langa whose poetic prowess has been seen in other works such as “Poet-O-Type” by Jeff Tshabalala. The work is directed by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, who despite his youth has already steered many successful shows including ‘My Children! My Africa!’ and “Lysistrata’. Langa and Mokgonyana co-directed The Movement RSA’s ‘Just Atigone’, which was recently nominated for three Naledi Awards.

Tswalo was described by POPArt Theatre as:
Lyrical prose, poetry and physical storytelling entwine to interrogate the rules that govern life on earth, such as power, creation, politics, connection, and intuition – the performers’ expression of his ‘source’.
Tswalo is a spiritual quest that gives the audiences the baton to walk through their own paradigm of ontology, Tswalo’s poetry, prose and stories furnish us with the necessary tools into a deep meditation. It undoubtedly begs the question (or theory) of being, becoming and unbecoming
Tswalo premired in Johannesburg at The Plat4orm and for its second run it went to Cape Town at the Alexander Bar Theatre. Tswalo made its international premier at Forum Phoinix BT, Bayreuth, Germany which was featured as part of ON THAT NOTE performance art exhibition. It is now making it’s way to Soweto Theatre, so catch it before time runs out.

 

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A show for Everyman and woman

Tonight saw the opening of ‘The Summoning of Everyman’ at POPArt Theatre in Maboneng. This play is co-directed by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and Billy Edward – the dynamic duo who brought us ‘Just Antigone’ and ‘Tswalo’.

The play exists as a theatre ‘classic’, often studied in schools as a benchmark of religious texts in the 1500s and prior. Written in 1510, this show is so old that the author is unknown!

Knowing the directors however, the piece will be anything but dated.

Performed by Khanyisile Ngwabe, Dimpho More, Ratanang Mogotsi and Nomathamsanqa Mhlakaza, the show is described as an:

“accessible adaptation of a well-known classical text (The Summoning of Everyman) recreated for young audiences and performed by an all-female cast.

The Summoning of Everyman uses allegorical characters to examine the question of Christian salvation and what Man must do to attain it. The premise is that the good and evil deeds of one’s life will be tallied by God after death, as in a ledger book. The play is the allegorical accounting of the life of Everyman, who represents all mankind. In the course of the action, Everyman tries to convince other characters to accompany him in the hope of improving his account. All the characters are also allegorical, each personifying an abstract idea such as Fellowship, (material) Goods, and Knowledge”.

The show will only be on until Sunday, so make sure to book your tickets NOW!

FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1303743913001814/?active_tab=about

POPArt Page: https://popartcentre.co.za/show/001_MAR_17/

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2-4 March @ 8pm
5 March @ 3:30pm
Tickets R100 at the door (R80 online)

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Review – Woza Albert

By Nyaki Motloung

There is a beauty in the combination of protest theatre and poor theatre that will live for a thousand years and explains why Woza Albert! will keep returning to our theatres. And for these reasons and many more, it was a so heartwarming for me to see Soweto Theatre’s Red Theatre being packed on the opening night of the play.

Woza Albert! is a political South African satire which imagines the second coming of “Morena” in South Africa during the apartheid-era. Morena is the Christ-like figure whose arrival is much anticipated by many black South Africans and is a threat to the apartheid government as he is rumoured to bring salvation for the black people.

The largely self directed two man cast are required to play many characters such as a street vendor, barber and government officials in a bid to express the varied opinions of the arrival of Morena. And what we see is a spectacle where voices and bodies fill a stage with such a confidence that the (very minimal but effective) set, lighting and costume become just a cherry on top of this delicious cake.

Hamilton Dhlamini is a veteran in the performance of the play and displays the eloquence, wit and comedic timing which come from great discipline and and commitment to this great story. His swift changes from characters such as a black migrant worker to the worker’s white employee are so crisp and as an actor myself, I highly respect his continuining level of commitment to every role.

On the other hand, Bheki Mkhwane is new to the role and this performance was the first time I had seen him perform on a stage, whereas I have watched him many times on television. Filling the shoes of Mncedisi Shabangu, who was previously part of the Woza Albert! duo is no easy role. At times, I found myself missing Shabangu’s humour and ease on stage. However, being a creature of habit, I realised that change isn’t a bad thing. At all. One of the necessities of long living productions such as this, is the ability to re-imagine and alter. And in this case, the re-imaginaing came with the change in casting. It is not Mkhwane’s role to replace Shabangu. He was not tasked to fill anyone’s shoes and he did not; he brought his own shoes and boy, he wore them well.

Mkhwane, for me, brought an element which I can only explain as a father telling a story to his children which is close to his heart (this is not a comment in his age, okay. Ngicela ning’yeke). He takes control of his roles and when he calls izithakazelo there is a beautiful reaction from the audiences with whistling, clapping and a “yaaaaas'” here and there because many black Twitter has taught us new and different ways of expressing ourselves.

Although there were some opening night nerves and minor mishaps which can, and I am sure have been, improved such as forgetting to use props at the correct time and volume drops, the play is truly stunning. Dhlamini and Mkhwane are a two man talent army and a force to be reckoned with. I highly recommend this play and recommend that you you take a friend or three because there are some hilarious moments which you don’t want to be laughing at alone.

The production has only two shows remaining and will close on 22 February. Check out Soweto Theatre’s website to book your tickets.

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New Writing at Monologue Mondays

Before the 1st Monologue Monday of 2017, the organisers gave several writers a Shakespearean Sonnet each, and asked them to write a ‘response’ to it. Some writers stuck to the sonnet form, and others wrote in a very different style to the original texts, but all were pieces of writing we think Shakespeare would have appreciated… These original works, called ‘love letters’ were then given to random audience members upon entry, and then read at the end of the night. This allowed the writers an invaluable opportunity of hearing a cold reading of their original works – a crucial thing for anyone wanting to edit and improve their writing.

Below is a monologue response to Sonnet 35, written by Binnie Christie

ORIGINAL – SONNET 35

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RESPONSE: ‘Have Faith’ by Binnie Christie

The lines in bold have been taken directly from the original.

Character: Female. Say’s one thing, mean’s another. 

Speaking kindly and sincerely to her lover:

Forgive yourself now… We all make mistakes. Forgive yourself so that we can both move on. You’ve confessed it. And I’ve forgiven you. So let’s just move on. And forget about it. Ok?

I’ve forgotten everything. And I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Or think about it. Or keep questioning… And I certainly don’t want to ask questions like: Did you sweep her off her feet and onto our bed? Did she lie, dripping on my grandmother’s quilt? Or – Had you fucked her in the car that day I said it smelt like – ? And  – Did she buy that watch you’re wearing, that you said Eric gave you? See, I don’t’ want to know things like – Did you tell me because you love me, or because you actually don’t love me at all?

So let’s get past it, alright? Because no one is perfect. (Joking) I’m sure even Jesus had his moments. And at least you’ve owned up to yours. .. You confessed it to me. Like I’m God – that you’ve been on your knees one too many times without praying… I washed away the sins and now so must you. (Sweetly) You have to forgive yourself for being such a cheating bastard. And remember that at least you’re not a lying, cheating bastard. Because you were honest. You’re an honest man, aren’t you? Aren’t you?

Have faith in having admitted your unfaithfulness, and let’s let go of it all. Like I said every rose has thorns… Even I’m not perfect. My biggest mistake being that I love you. And that I hate myself for it. Such civil war is in my love and hate. 

But I work on it. Every day I pray, give myself a good talking to, and try to forgive myself. For being so weak. So pathetic. For making excuses for us both. I console myself about your faults and mine, excusing the fact that you are who you are, and that I love you for it. That instead of settling down, I’ve settled.

(Reassuring) But one thing I am completely settled on is that we can move past this. You’ve just got to try. Pray, and try forgive yourself daily. And most importantly of all, just have faith.

 

 

1st Monologue Monday of 2017

Normally it would be ‘black Monday’ in the theatre-world, but this Monday 6th of February The Movement RSA participated in the 1st ‘Monologue Mondays’ of 2017. The event, hosted by Andz Mpinda and her incredible creative team, was held at The Hive in Braamfontein. The unconventional venue, which usually exhibits artwork, had performers set up in various corners (and a stairway too) as though living sculptures – reminiscent of shows such as Brett Bailey’s ‘Exhibit A’ and Mwenya Kabwe’s ‘Nomads Among Us’. The audience moved from one space to the next, watching as the actors performed either Shakespearian sonnets or modern monologues about love. Love and romance was the theme of the evening, given Valentines Day next week and the artists’ love of theatre in general. At the end of the prepared performances, certain audience members were called up to read ‘love letters’ they had received upon entering the space. These love letters were new pieces by writers asked to create ‘responses’ to a particular Sonnet they’d been given by the organisers. Some were written in sonnet form, others in monologue form, but all were responses Shakespeare would have been proud of (keep a look out for some pieces on our blog).

A big thank you to the organisers of the event, LEON for providing such soulful music, The Hive, the writers, performers and readers, and of course the audience! It was wonderful to collaborate with you all.

Monologue Mondays will take place the 1st Monday of each month – meaning the next one is on the 6th of March (write it in your diary). To get involved or to get more info, kindly contact Andisiwe Mpinda (Director of Entsimini Produce and Monologue Mondays) at entsiminiproduce@gmail.com

Below is a like to a short video-slash-slideshow of the event. Forgive the poor quality. After all we’re theatre-makers, not film-makers.