‘Tsotsi’ is an all-new stage pro­duc­tion

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - LUKE FOLB

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.

PIC­TURE: SUPPLIED

The ‘Tsotsi’ en­sem­ble in re­hearsal.

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