Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

AMEERA Con­rad, 23, is part of UCT drama’s ex­tra­or­di­nary class which grad­u­ated at the end of 2015. Acutely tuned into the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall move­ments, many of these the­atre-mak­ers have be­come cul­tural ac­tivists and are gen­er­at­ing thought-pro­vok­ing and chal­leng­ing work.

The multi- tal­ented Con­rad writes, di­rects and per­forms. She is ap­pear­ing in The Fall at the Bax­ter from June 8-24 along with six other 2015 drama grad­u­ates. The Fall is be­ing staged by the Bax­ter to co­in­cide with Youth Month. The rest of the per­form­ers are Oara­bile Dit­sele, Tankiso Mam­abolo, Thando Mangcu, Sizwe­sandile Mnisi, Sihle Mn­qwazana and Cleo Raa­tus.

The Fall was work-shopped in Oc­to­ber by eight the­atre-mak­ers un­der the men­tor­ship of UCT drama lec­turer Clare Stop­ford. They shared their ex­pe­ri­ences of the stu­dent protests and framed their ob­ser­va­tions within the larger frame­work of sex­u­al­ity, gen­der, race, iden­tity, equal­ity, dis­crim­i­na­tion, etc. Seven char­ac­ters were dis­tilled from the ma­te­rial. Con­rad and Mangcu as­sem­bled and cu­rated the stories of the char­ac­ters.

“The script it­self came out of a se­ries of im­pro­vi­sa­tions with the en­tire cast which would be recorded on a cell­phone or lap­top and then Thando or I would then take those record­ings and tran­scribe them for the group, and as a col­lec­tive we would edit them,” said Con­rad.

“Ei­ther my­self or Thando would then scribe the ed­its and keep track of the char­ac­ter arcs and all the the­atre maker-y things. But the stories and the choices were shared amongst the cast.

There are seven per­form­ers in the cur­rent pro­duc­tion. Kgo­motso Khunoane – who was part of the orig­i­nal col­lec­tive – moved to Johannesburg, so is no longer is in the piece but Con­rad said: “We have al­ways had seven char­ac­ters, but when we had our first work­shop ses­sion (in March 2016) we had eight peo­ple work­ing on the script.”

Re­sponse from au­di­ences? “We were amazed at the re­sponse. Peo­ple from all across the race, age, and gen­der spec­tra made up the au­di­ences and of­ten times some peo­ple would stay be­hind to chat to us af­ter the show. Older white peo­ple who had lived dur­ing apartheid


cast: Back, Cleo Raa­tus, Tankiso Mam­abolo and Sizwe­sandile Mnisi; mid­dle, Oara­bile Dit­sele, Sihle Mng­wazana and Thando Mangcu; front, Ameera Con­rad.

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