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Saturday, May 18, 2019

CURTAIN UP REVIEW


(Pic by Val Adamson)

The whole cast worked excellently together like a well-oiled-machine. They showed commitment and grace and performed beyond professionalism. (Review by Philisiwe Twijnstra)

The Young Performers Project presents Curtain Up, a musical revue.

Curtain up begins with a group of driven young performers sneaking into a dark derelict building that had been nesting pigeons. The story unfolds through songs and synchronised choreography. They find out that the building used be an old theatre and it was due to be sold and turned into a Casino. Curtain Up had emotional overtones and a predominant need to belong somewhere. A sense of wanting a home to sing and dance. Every song had its own underlying theme and emotional turnover. Excellent duets and solos from the cast with minimal costume changing. 

Besides this, I knew most of the songs that were sang; some from cabaret musicals playlists, contemporary popular songs and alternative music and a tad bit of South African traditional music. Which I personally think was such a great touch. However, I related more to the yearning, the passion, the talent and dedication which every actor had shown, as an ensemble. I didn’t know what to expect when I first entered in the auditorium. The word “amateur” has a tendency of throwing people off because the word itself insinuates a “less than”. Curtain Up proved that every pre-conceived notion about a young performer: that they were lazy or less clued up— was an old tale.

Curtain Up is an interesting musical revue written by Charon Williams Ros and directed by Jaco Van Rensburg. I applaud the director for his vision and making every actor/ singer/ dancer on that stage find their light and shine. Everyone had moment to be great. The balance of talent and inclusiveness was emotionally engaging. Curtain Up is a relevant story precisely to Durban artists.

This musical reminded me when Stable Theatre and Catalina Theatre were closed down. A sense of belonging was taken away. Durban artists were forced to think outside the black box which drove everyone to a state of solitude and seclusion.

However, in Curtain Up the young performers were faced with a similar dilemma of needing a theatre to rehearse. Instead of trickling to their own corners, they came together as a community to find a new home to sing and dance. Curtain Up is close to home, a very necessary story with impeccable performances from Anele Nojiyeza, Alex Van Schalkwyk, Marianthe Panas, Sihle Manonyane, Keeley Crocker and Tino Kazi. Well-known performers Mthokozisi Zulu and Sbongiseni Shezi held the cast together with their astounding and fresh comical moments.

(Leah Mari)

The whole cast worked excellently together like a well-oiled-machine. They showed commitment and grace and performed beyond professionalism. A special mention of Lesedi Goge with his perfect comic timing, strong presence from Scebi Mpaza and Kyran Taylor. I would not be doing justice if I did not share my personal shout out to Leah Mari, Oqalile Tshetshe, Nelisiwe Zimba, Rachel Devine, Sonwabile Mnengela, William Young, Benjamin Rodriguez and the rest of the cast. You shone in your light and kept the story going.

I just realised that every actor certainly started by singing and dancing in a group, before they realised they wanted to tell stories and have a purpose. I urge every actor who has forgotten why they do theatre and why they call themselves actors to go and watch Curtain Up. Surely it was a reminder for me.

The show runs until June 2, 2019, with performances at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus from Wednesdays to Saturdays at 18h00 and Sundays at 14h00. There are also early shows on Saturdays at 14h00. Tickets R90. Booking is through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers, by phone 0861 915 8000 or online at www.computicket.com. 2019. - Philisiwe Twijnstra

Friday, May 17, 2019

EARLY AFRICAN INTELLECTUALS PROJECT


(Dr Thokozani Mhlambi)

Dr Thokozani Mhlambi set to revive music compositions from yesteryear in contemporary 21st century style

Dr Thokozani Mhlambi (PHD, Music) is on a mission to ‘resurrect’ the musical craft of African intellectuals from as early as the 19th century. The three month long archive and digital campaign will eventually culminate into a live exhibition concert that will honour, celebrate and revive the sounds of revered intellectuals such as John and Nokutela Dube.

The Early African Intellectuals as Composers music project is a historical undertaking that seeks to ‘wake up’ the African to his ancient music composition and intellectual excellence; as well as raise awareness of and educate about the birth and journey that has been travelled by compositions of the past while finding a place for them to be recognized and enjoyed in contemporary Africa.

Africans (and South Africans in particular) will learn about and indulge in the revived sounds of Ntsikana, Enoch Sontoga, Tiyo Soga and lesser-known woman composer Nokutela Dube, first wife of John Dube. These compositions are among those that will be performed by Dr Mhlambi, who plays the cello and voice, and an ensemble consisting of strings, UKZN Music School opera students and award-winning jazz pianist Lonwabo Mafani, a student at the UCT’s College of Music.

‘We are currently busy with auditions for the final cast and I am very pleased with the progress that we have made with the songs which we had to retrieve from the archives of various arts and culture institutions- some of which are named after the intellectual greats whom I humbly hope this project will fittingly honour and do justice to their composition excellence,’ said Dr Thokozani Mhlambi who was awarded the National Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Innovation in 2017- one of the few to be given to someone in the artistic disciplines.

‘I believe that more than ever we ought to celebrate and honour African excellence across all spheres. I am grateful and very excited to be counted amongst those pioneering this recognition and celebration of African excellence in the arts sector. This is a legacy project which I hope will inspire future generations and aspirant composers. It is poised to disrupt the arts industry.’ Dr Mhlambi continued.

The Early African Intellectuals as Composers series culminates in a major exhibition concert. The Durban edition of the exhibition concert will be held on July 26, 2019, at 17h30 at the Killie Campbell Africana Library and Museum in Morningside. The Cape Town edition takes place in September.

The project is supported by the National Arts Council, the Mazisi Kunene Museum (who are currently hosting Mhlambi as an Artist-in-Residency), Durban Music School, Afropolitan Explosiv, Urban Futures Centre at DUT and the Killie Campbell Africana Library, a part of UKZN

CHERNOBYL FOR M-NET


M-Net Channel 101 will air the start of the series Chernobyl on May 22 at 22h10. The devastating and chilling real-life 1986 catastrophe at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is unpacked in this tense historical drama.

Chernobyl is a five-part British-American historical drama television miniseries created and written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck.

Starring Jared Harris, Stellan SkarsgÄrd and Emily Watson, it was a co-production between the American cable network HBO and the British television network Sky, and premiered in both the United States and the United Kingdom on May 6, 2019.

The series depicts the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that occurred in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in April 1986 and the unprecedented clean-up efforts that followed.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2 JNR


 

It’s time for Durban Actors Studio’s Disney’s High School Musical 2 Jnr at the DAS Factory for a four-show run from June 12 to 15, 2019!

This youth-orientated high energy extravaganza depicts the values of friendship, teamwork and love as the young Wildcats of East High School take on a summer that will change their lives! At the Lava Springs Country Club, popular and fabulous, Sharpay, reigns supreme while the Wildcats Work This Out!

Featuring every ounce of the light-hearted fun that made High School Musical a household name, this buoyant sequel follows the East High favourites as they face the realities of the adult world and begin to grow up. Friendships are tested, summer romances go haywire and the meaning of success is redefined; All for one and one for all!

Under the direction of Sanele Sibiya, this will be Durban Actors Studio’s flag production of 2019 with a cast of 23 young enthusiastic performers from the Durban Actors Studio Stage School Program.

Limited seating available per show, plus the option to book a pre-performance meal!

Performances take place from June 12 to 14 at 19h00 and on June 15 at 14h00. Tickets R80. To book visit https://www.durbanactorsstudio.co.za/the-factory/

Presented by arrangement with DALRO (Pty) Ltd representing Musical Theatre International, New York.