Mu­si­cal brings beauty to women’s strug­gle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment - Bruce Ndlovu Show­biz Correspondent

WHILE there is noth­ing el­e­gant about suf­fer­ing, an all­women en­sem­ble in The Tell­ers mu­si­cal, which pre­miered last Wed­nes­day at the Bu­l­awayo The­atre, did an ex­cel­lent job.

They beau­ti­fully un­packed the grim lives of Zim­bab­wean women toil­ing un­der eco­nom­i­cally un­cer­tain times and the tur­moil of less-than per­fect re­la­tion­ships.

Com­merce and love min­gle in the Raise­don Baya penned play, as a tal­ented cast of women il­lus­trated how their hearts and minds had been bat­tered by men who crept into their lives with the prom­ise of love, only to leave dis­ap­point­ment and heart­break when they slith­ered away.

Per­haps this is the most ironic thing about The Tell­ers. De­spite fea­tur­ing an all-fe­male cast, the play is as much about men as it is about the women.

The char­ac­ter who best il­lus­trates the play’s is­sues is shop hand NaN­tuli, who with her trusted broom, is al­ways sweep­ing around dili­gently de­spite end­less abuse from her su­pe­ri­ors.

She rep­re­sents long suf­fer­ing Zim­bab­wean women whose spouses work out­side the coun­try. Af­ter a long wait for him to come home, she dis­cov­ers from the women in his se­cret life that he is bed-rid­den.

This rev­e­la­tion is hard for her to swal­low, de­spite the fact that the bar had been set so low for her that she was con­tent with the gro­ceries that he sent for his son, Striker.

Nei­ther love nor af­fec­tion but gro­ceries, it seems, are the glue that has kept their dis­tant union in­tact. Un­der such cir­cum­stances, strug­gling as she is fi­nan­cially, she is likely to be left to sweep away the mess he leaves be­hind, much like the way she brushes away the dirt that ac­cu­mu­lates at the store.

From cheat­ing ab­sen­tee fa­thers and ir­re­spon­si­ble hus­bands, dead­beat men are the thread that con­nects the di­verse women, work­ing at a strug­gling store, in the play which ended its brief run two evenings af­ter its rous­ing de­but last Wed­nes­day.

Cast in roles that they seem to have been born to play, multi tal­ented per­form­ers Lady Tshawe and Donna N were the sparkling play’s bright­est sparks on the open­ing night.

Spot­ting out­fits that seemed more ap­pro­pri­ate for naughty high school girls than work­ing women, the two were the dy­namos that pow­ered the play as, play­ing a pair of gos­sip lov­ing, en­er­getic cashiers, they were the nerve cen­tre from which the other women’s sto­ries branched from.

As it is a mu­si­cal, song is an in­te­gral part of the play and with their pow­er­ful voices the two were al­ways bound to shine in this as­pect of the pro­duc­tion.

While it is un­de­ni­able that Donna N and Lady Tshawe can sing with the an­gels, their tal­ents were en­hanced by the live band which is an in­te­gral part of the mu­si­cal.

This part of the pro­duc­tion force­fully brought it home to the au­di­ence that The Tell­ers were there not only to feed the eye, but the ear as well, as the band ex­pertly nav­i­gated the mu­si­cal in­ter­ludes that punc­tu­ate the play.

The band also ben­e­fited from a clever ma­nip­u­la­tion of the stage lights as, play­ing from be­hind what seems like a thin see through cur­tain, they were only vis­i­ble once the lights were turned on in their sec­tion.

Thus the band be­came a some­what sin­is­ter yet beau­ti­ful part of the pro­duc­tion, as it was rarely seen although its el­e­gant touch was felt when­ever nec­es­sary.

The Tell­ers cast per­forms at Bu­l­awayo The­atre (Pic­ture by Mgcini Ny­oni)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.