A night at the theatre

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

Young Directors Season 2019 showcased serious talent and seriously entertaining productions.

By Tanyaradzwa Maswaure

The poster revealing a sneak peak of what the Young Directors Season had to offer. Photo Credit: Tyra Warren

By 3pm on the 16th of August, the tickets for Young Directors Season (YDS) had already sold out. This excitement continued into the evening with a large crowd gathered an hour before the first performance of the first evening.

YDS is an annual showcase by the Rhodes drama department in which honours directors are provided a semi-professional platform to showcase their work and talents, as well as providing a space for actors to experiment and display their performance abilities.

The showcase took place over two evenings, 16-17 August. The Young Directors Season proved to be an enjoyable affair with the productions of Molora, The Suit and Koropa filling the the Rhodes Box theatre with its fair share of drama, laughter and suspense

The first night of the showcase began with the performance of The Suit. This classic South African short story by Can Themba is set in 1950s Sophiatown, where Philemon forces his wife, Matilda, to treat her lover's suit as if it were a person, with tragic consequences.

This production of the story was directed by Uvile Memory and Samkelisiwe Ximba. Zimba adapted this classic with a twist by making Matilda bisexual.

Mmatumisang Motsisi, who portrayed Matilda, stole the show and the theatre was captivated as Matilda became mad from the voices echoed, calling out her name as a consequence of her husband’s revenge.

Tension as Philly (Tumelo Thamaga) (left) watching his wife Matilda, (Mmatumisang Motsisi) (centre) put on her lover's jacket. Photo Credit: Tyra Warren

Koropa was the play that followed and provided a unique representation of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Lulutho Mehlomakhulu, who portrayed the character Nozamo was hesitant about the play, “At first I was afraid that I wouldn’t pull off such a big narrative and do it justice, but I fell in love with it”.

She was not the only one in love with the production as the audience were smitten with the three lead women; the strong, hardworking and hilarious Didiza, Winny and Nozamo.

The director, Noluthando Mpho Sibisi, orchestrated a rollercoaster of emotions that left no one behind.

The undeniable humour and charm of the three main leads Didiza, Winny and Nozamo portrayed by Mathabo Tlali, Busisiwe Maphumulo and Lulutho Mehlomakhulu respectively. Photo Credit: Tyra Warren

The evening concluded with Molora directed by Siphosethu Balakisi. As I re-entered the theatre, there was a completely different atmosphere due to the smoke that engulfed the air as a small group of cast members hummed in the background.

Before the lights on the stage were switched off, everyone was captured by the authentic village setting with sticks, smoke and traditional clothes. Equally as dramatic as the previous two, Molora was just as captivating.

Although intriguing, I got lost in the plot along the way due to a language barrier, as the play was mostly in isiXhosa and isiZulu. Despite that, the show still managed to bring me to tears once when some bad news is delivered to one of the main characters, Elektra.

Nande Siko performed spectacularly, so much so that you could feel the sadness in the room as her tears fell to the ground. Absolutely stunning!

The talented cast of the play , Molora. Photo Credit: Tyra Warren

The Young Directors Season showcased the amazing talent of the students within Rhodes Drama Department with plays being produced so incredibly that you might even assume it was done by a professional cast. The night ended all too soon and I regret missing the fourth show, Waiting for Godot, which was performed the following evening.

Overall, it was a night at the theatre well spent.

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