‘Tsotsi’ is an all-new stage production
IT’S not an adaptation of the movie but rather an interpretation and reimagining of the book, say some of the cast of Tsotsi, The Musical.
The show makes its theatrical debut at the Artscape Theatre this month.
Tsotsi captivated audiences throughout the country in 2005 when director Gavin Hood transformed Athol Fugard’s 1980 novel into an Oscar-winning feature film. The musical promises to be an extravaganza and takes on a different direction to the film, with some new characters.
The musical tells the story of Tsotsi (David), a township criminal whose life is changed after a mugging leaves him as the carer of a baby. The production features all-new music by Zwai Bala, with the book and lyrics by Mkhululi Mabija.
Hip-hop artist Mxolisi “Zuluboy” Majozi plays the main role of Tsotsi while the supporting cast includes Bianca le Grange, Msizi Njapha, Busisiwe Ngejane, Katlego Letsholonyana, Thembisile Ntaka, Thembalethu Zwele, Kgomotso Matsunyane, Royston Stoffels, Lindani Nkosi, Ayanda Nhlangothi and Nhlanhla Mahlangu.
Matsunyane said the cast made the show more enjoyable and impressive.
“The talent is so good and we lean on each other for support and learn from each other. I play Miriam but I’m also part of the ensemble and you get a strong sense of ensemble in this show,” she said.
She adds that the character of Miriam has a strong influence on Tsotsi and brings out his humanity.
“Miriam is not from South Africa; Tsotsi relies on her for milk and to care for this baby that he’s taken. She almost becomes a mother to the child but also to Tsotsi, in a way, and she is a catalyst for change in his life. She’s like a service provider.
“This story is really one of humanity and it’s a story of how one baby can change a man and how that is so infectious within that community, and we see how that affects his relationships with his gang members,” she said.
Choreographer Thandazile “Sonia” Radebe said the audience would be able to relate to the characters because they have known them all their lives.
“The characters are very much relatable and even if you’ve never found yourself in a situation where you had a one-on-one confrontation with such a character you’ve seen it or you’ve grown up with those characters around you. As artists we observe that and bring it into the production,” she said.
She added that when she became part of the creative team behind the musical she realised that none of the previous elements related to Tsotsi were being used.
“The entire soundscape is original, which means I need to tap into a different source and that has changed my movement ideas to adapt to create a dance of unity for the ensemble. We’re not trying to be dancers but storytellers.”
Mahlangu said that Radebe had conceptualised dances that will move the audience along with the story’s journey of transformation.
“What she has done with choreography is she’s taken the audience from the known and moved them to the unknown so they see the dances they’re familiar with and then she adds the choreography devices that take it to the theatrical spaces,” he said.
Tsotsi runs from February 8 to 17.
The ‘Tsotsi’ ensemble in rehearsal.