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Monday, June 5, 2017


(Raeesa Mahomed, Lotus FM drama producer)

It’s that time of the year when Lotus FM rolls out its annual Shakespeare production. Last year, the station introduced the initiative with Othello, the 2016 matric setwork, translating it into modern English to make it more accessible to Grade 12s who are battling with the Bard’s language. This year’s matric Shakespeare is Hamlet and the station has already started recording the drama with a top cast of local actors.

Last year drama producer Raeesa Mahomed did the translation herself but opted this year to rope in local writers. The well known writer/actor Rory Booth did the honours. The powerhouse cast includes stalwarts like Michael Gritten (Hamlet), Roger Service (Claudius), Tom Read (Polonius) and Philippa Savage (Ophelia).

 The first 15 minute episode will air on July 3 and play every weekday at 09h45. For those who miss it, the same episode will be repeated at 21h30. It will be the start of the winter holidays, making it easier for learners to tune in.

The drama is recorded at the specialized radio drama studios of the SABC in Durban and is accompanied by state of the art sound effects which enhance the production. This, together with the dialogue, results in a product that is of immense assistance for students trying to come to grips with a play that is centuries old but with deep and valuable messages and with universal appeal.

Raeesa Mahomed says: ‘Last year our Shakespeare production was a huge success with great feedback from schools and learners. They were particularly appreciative of the high standard of the production and the translation which facilitated the learners’ studies. Shakespeare is probably one of the most well-known writers in the English language and special attention has to be paid to do justice to his work, and from all accounts, we’ve achieved this’.

Santosh Beharie, the station’s programmes manager, says he is very pleased at the reception of last year’s Shakespeare production and expects the same this year. “Radio drama is well established at the station and for years we have produced work that was of a high standard and very entertaining. This is just taking it to a new level and also speaks to our public service mandate.”