Soweto theatre opens its doors
THE Soweto Theatre, which boasts state-of-the-art architecture, is ready to open its doors to the public in style on May 11.
The main theatre seats more that 400 people, while the other one can accommodate more than 100 people.
The seating arrangements are good for running workshops and perfect for community theatre works .
According to the producers as well as by looking at its past track record, the opening show, The Suitcase, originally written by the late academic and literary critic Eskia Mphahlele, will not disappoint.
The Soweto Theatre, which is situated next to the Jabulani Mall, has already got a line-up for its opening day in the second week of May.
Theatre director James Ngcobo is hard at work putting together what he believes to be a masterpiece for the ceremony.
The Suitcase is currently in its second week of rehearsal. When Sowetan visited the crew for a glimpse of what the public can expect, the rehearsal space was like a mental institution with lunatics who have just been admitted.
We witnessed that rehearsals can sometimes be intense and energy-sapping, with Ngcobo getting the actors going back and forth over and over again.
Ngcobo explains that rehearsals always look more insane to watch than the show itself, but emphasises that new elements have been introduced into the show.
"This time we have introduced Bra Hugh Masekela's songs to transform emotions on stage as the characters play them out," he says.
"There is also a scene that was originally straightforward, but this time around it is tuned into dance for the entertainment of the audience."
The dance is choreographed by Greg Maqoma of Vuyani Dance Theatre.
Maqoma knows his work and his respect for the craft can be seen in the manner in which he manoeuvres the casts.
He is patient, careful and has an eye for spotting a potential in an uninitiated dancer.
"This play is beautiful, and the dance will bring out the best in the play and actors. Most of the actors are not trained as dancers, and that means I have to be patient with how they interpret my vision," Maqoma said.
Former Generations actor Xolile Tshabalala has replaced Nxobile Sepamla for the role of Namhla, who plays the pregnant wife to Timi Ngobese, played by Siyabonga Twala (who played Paul Mashaba in Generations).
Tshabalala said: "I love the stage and I am glad to be working with James, who has the passion for the art. The dance does not come easily but I am getting there. Greg can get the best from anyone as long as they cooperate."
Mphahlele's poignant story tells of a man so desperate to provide for his pregnant wife that he steals a suitcase left by someone on a bus.
His action sets in motion a chain of frightening consequences.