Acclaimed plays for Playhouse

Renate Stuurman, Paul Slabolepszy and Charmaine Weir-Smith in Suddenly the Storm, designed by Greg King.

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BY BILLY SUTER

TWO acclaimed stage productions which clinched three Naledi Theatre Awards apiece in Johannesburg on Monday, June 5, are to be staged at Durban’s Playhouse in August as part of the annual South African Women’s Arts Festival at the city centre venue.

The Playhouse Company has announced that the productions include Paul Slabolepszy’s Suddenly the Storm, for which Durban’s Greg King won a Naledi for best set design and for which Slabolepszy took a Naledi for best new script. The play also scooped a Naledi for Wesley France’s lighting design.

The other production is Scorched, for which Ilse Klink took the award for best lead actress. The drama also won Naledis for director Jade Bowers and supporting actress Ameera Patel.

Bowers is the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre. Scorched premiered on the main programme at the 2016 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to high critical acclaim, and went on to a season at UJ Arts Centre in Johannesburg.

Mpho Osei-Tutu  and Ilse Klink in the award-winning Scorched. Picture by Jane Berg.

Durban audiences will have the opportunity to experience this acclaimed production from August 16 to 19 August in the Playhouse Drama.

Following success at the Market Theatre and the Theatre on the Square, Suddenly the Storm runs at Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre in July. It will be in Durban, in the Playhouse Loft, at 7.30pm on August 10 and 11, and at 2pm and 7.30pm on August 12.

“The Playhouse Company offers its congratulations to both productions and the hard working teams behind them. We are delighted to be bringing these high calibre dramatic works to Durban stage during our South African Women’s Arts Festival 2017. Both these plays have received extensive public and critical acclaim wherever they’ve toured and are a must see for local audiences,” said Playhouse Company CEO and Artistic Director, Linda Bukhosini.

Suddenly the Storm, directed by Bobby Heaney, teams Slabolepszy, Charmaine Weir-Smith (Isidingo, Binnelanders, Generations) and Renate Stuurman (Isidingo, Scandal!).

The play is set in the far East Rand, the home of an ageing former policeman and his much younger wife.

A storm approaches… Namhla Gumede, born on June 16, 1976, arrives, seeking answers to questions that have remained buried for 40 long years.

What begins as a smouldering dark comedy turns suddenly into a rollercoaster ride of startling revelations, of rage and recrimination, before the storm finally breaks.

Tickets for Suddenly the Storm, for which there is an 18 age restriction, for strong language, cost R80. Booking is at Computicket.

Scorched is described as an epic, yet intimate, family drama by acclaimed Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad. The play follows twins Janine and Simon Marwan on a riveting journey to the heart of their mother’s war-torn Middle-Eastern homeland in pursuit of their tangled roots and a long-lost sibling.

In this land, where civil war, massacre and revenge constitute a way of life, the twins uncover shocking secrets about their mother’s history, about themselves and their origins.

The production is features lighting design by Oliver Hauser, design by Nadine Minaar and music composition by Matthew MacFarlane.

The cast also features Cherae Halley, Jaques De Silva, Mpho Osei-Tutu, Bronwyn van Graan and Gopala Davies.

This production was made possible with support from the National Arts Festival, Standard Bank and the University of Johannesburg Arts and Culture.

School performances of Scorched, for which there is a 13 age restriction, are scheduled for 10am on August 16,17 and18. Schools performances, at R30 per pupil, can be booked by calling (031) 369 9407.

Public performances are set for 7.30pm on August 18, and 2.30pm and 7.30pm on August 19. Tickets (R80) are available at Computicket.


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