New theatre gems emerge

16 Sep, 2018 - 00:09 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Takudzwa Chihamabkwe
A year since formation of the Zimbabwe Theatre Academy (ZTA), the project has begun bearing fruits.

Two graduates from the academy, which offers a one-year intensive course, last week staged a jaw-dropping performance at Reps Theatre, thereby announcing the arrival of raw young talent on the theatre scene.

Showing a great grasp of physical theatre and combining it with the generic, linear format, Cadrick Msongelwa and Ronald Sigeca interrogate the effectiveness of the justice system in rehabilitating prisoners.

They reveal the psychological strain these individuals go through when they are behind bars as their pleas for innocence do not seem to be heard. To add to the stress, they are abused by senior inmates and this causes them to lose hope in life and begin to gradually accept that probably prison is their rightful place.

Eventually, one of the prisoners gets amnesty and is looking forward to being reunited with his family. However, he soon discovers that his wife had remarried.

Rejected by friends and the community, the former convict decides to commit another crime and goes back to the place where he feels accepted – prison.

The synergy and emotional bond that Msongelwa and Sigeca present on stage is world-class. It appears as if they have been in the game for years, yet they are just novices.

Their ability to play multiple characters as the drama unfolds shows that with more productions, they are future theatre demagogues.

The two birthed the production’s idea.

“Msongelwa and Sigeca had an idea of a story they wanted to tell. They approached the school to assist them in releasing their play and producing it,” said play director and ZTA coordinator, Lloyd Nyikadzino.

“We were impressed with their idea and we began developing the story after the students had graduated in June. They came back from Bulawayo for an intensive rehearsal at our base, Reps Theatre. We discussed their idea and engaged the other Faculty members for story development and physical dialogue,” he revealed.

Leonard Matsa was roped in as script consultant while Teddy Mangawa and Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi assisted with the emotional journey and physical dialogue of the play.

Continued Nyikadzino: “It was a theatre making and performance process that was exciting to work on as all the parties understood the vocabulary and approach of the academy in devising the show.”

ZTA has also staged two other intriguing productions, “Breathing Graves” and “7seven263”, which feature all their students.

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