La Boheme

By Nyakallo Motloung

Although I am a big theatre goer, I am a novice with regards to opera and that is why I was excited when I was invited to the opening night of La Boheme at the Joburg Theatre. La Boheme is an age-old but timeless love and loss story between a young couple, Rodolfo and Mimi. The opera is a Gauteng Opera production directed by Marcus Desando, music by the Gauteng Opera Orchestra and conducted by Eddie Clayton. The cast consists of local performers and they really sold me there. I had never seen an opera live and to see the mainly black cast list got me even more excited and internally, I was singing Solange Knowles’ F.U.B.U. But, I digress. Additionally, being a lover of poor theatre, it is always a great experience for me to see the other side of the game, consisting of grand sets and costumes.

So I sat in my seat with great expectations, awaiting the show to start. The curtain opened and I saw a simple but lovely set. I could tell instantly that the opera had been modernised as I saw the chic apartment of Rodolfo and Macello and their modern costume. Unfortunately my heart sank a bit as I struggled to hear the male performers in the beginning and was not helped much by the confusing subtitles. Performers’ lack of projection on stage always makes me feel as though I am looking from the outside on an inside joke, which is very isolating. But I was not deterred, I sat on the edge of my seat and adjusted my concentration from 100 to 110. However, I was instantly taken by Marcello (Solly Motaung) whose voice and physicality was a pleasure to watch throughout the show. His charm went beyond his character. Motaung’s presence on stage and ability to engage the audience was really satisfying to watch. A trait which I was expecting more from Rodolfo (Phenye Modiane) who was the leading man and protagonist of the show. He truly has a beautiful voice and his interactions with Mimi really warmed my heart. However, there is a gentleness in Rodolfo that I feel Modiane played too far and as a result, made him shrink on stage. His actions were too small and there was a lack of commitment in them that made me want to listen to rather than watch him.

However, I was really blown away by Mimi (Khayakazi Madlala). What a star. Her voice really gave me a visceral reaction. I could not hold back from shouting “YAAS GIRL” when she hit those high notes and I would like to apologise to the two ladies who sat beside me. But also, #SorryNotSorry. We had been told that Madlala is a second year student at Gauteng Opera it is such a pleasure to see a new talent who I hope will go very far. Not only was I taken by her voice but also by how well her physicality connected to her voice. The same can be said for the gorgeous Musetta (Litho Nqai). My goodness! I just loved her vocal range and the way she took control of the stage. It was not only in the writing but also in the body of Nqai. As I stated, I am but an eager novice in the world of opera but I am a self-proclaimed expert in spotting performers enjoying themselves on stage; which was what drew me to Motaung, Madlala and Nqai.

My (very high) expectations were not met fully but overall, I enjoyed the show and I have learnt that I really need to watch more opera. Really! I would definitely recommend the show, especially to opera lovers. You have a chance to do so at the beautiful Mandela Theatre at the Joburg Theatre from the 20 – 23rd of July.

Get your tickets at https://www.joburgtheatre.com/la-boheme

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The Movement RSA gets Jittery

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A huge congratulations to Jovan Muthray, Campbell Jessica Meas and Nyakallo Motloung for being successful in their audition to join The Jittery Citizens improv troupe! We look forward to all the funny, on-the-spot work you will produce in the future!

For more information about The Jittery Citizens and their work, please see their official website: http://www.jitterycitizens.com/

Our first project: ‘Just Antigone’

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Our first project as a company was putting on a version of Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ which encapsulated all three Greek myths surrounding the young heroine. The script, adapted by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and Billy Langa, infuses traditional heightened text with modern slang and colloquialisms, making the show accessible for modern audiences, in particular the youth.

During January and February 2016, the company rehearsed at the Joburg Theatre before moving into POPArt Theatre in Maboneng, where they performed four shows to sold out crowds. Some of the audience included Johannesburg high schools which are currently studying Antigone as a setwork. The cast and crew hosted a ‘Question and Answer’ session for these schools, to give the learners insight into the show and production process.

The Movement RSA was very grateful to have such a warm reception to our first professional debut!

 

Forming The Movement RSA

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A photograph of the team at our first meeting.

At the end of 2015, Billy Langa, Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and Jovan Muthray called together a group of young, local artists to discuss the current state of theatre in South Africa.

After much consideration, debate and idea sharing, these artists decided to form a theatre collective in order to make fresh, innovative work, promote art within education, and help theatre become accessible to all people. Thus ‘The Movement RSA’ was born.