‘Blood Tongue – The Musical’ leaves for SA Festival
(Blood Tongue, The Musical – photos by Mgcini Nyoni)
The stirring theatre production ‘Blood Tongue, The Musical’ – an exciting collaboration between Zimbabwean and South African artists, brewed in rehearsals since October at Bluez Café in Bulawayo, has been blazing a trail through Zimbabwe, and is now invited to a vibrant festival in Mpumalanga, South Africa, in early December.
Produced by Nhimbe Trust, ‘Blood Tongue – The Musical’ is a play by the award-winning Zimbabwean playwright and author, Christopher Mlalazi, which explores the struggles of a strong-willed woman in present-day Zimbabwe. It is directed by Eunice Tava in collaboration with South African music directors Bafana Dladla, and pianist Tshepo Pheko of the South African music group Generation2Generation. The Zimbabwean cast includes Bulawayo actresses Musa Sibanda, Noma Damasane, Rea Moyo and Bonakele Agnes Ncube.
The local tour started on 12 November at Bulawayo Theatre with a great response, and moved on to the Charles Austin Theatre, Masvingo on the 14th, but Harare and Norton shows on 15 and 16 November ‘due to circumstances beyond our control’ – as well-reported events on the political field began to unfold in the capital and Zimbabweans welcomed the winds of change.
The performances will be rescheduled in partnership with Theatre in the Park, Harare and Pakare Paye Arts Centre, Norton.
In the meantime, the musical has been invited to the Emalahleni Artists Preserving Heritage Festival (Ubuntu) to be held at the Emalahleni Civic Theatre, in Mpumalanga, South Africa on 8-9 December 2017. The organiser, the Alexandra Youth in Action Ensemble, is a nonprofit organization based in Alexandra Township, who focus on tolerance, rehabilitation and eradication of poverty through community theatre. The festival will create opportunities that explore and celebrate the South African heritage and culture exchange, whilst through arts giving a platform and an opportunity to community artists to showcase and promote their work.
Executive Director of Nhimbe Trust and producer Josh Nyapimbi said: “It’s a great honour to be invited to showcase ‘Blood Tongue – The Musical’ in SA. The cast is overjoyed the opportunities share, learn and exchange with their South African peers.”
The collaboration empowers and Nhimbe’s Women in Theatre and Television programme (WiTT) and other Zimbabwean theatre practitioners by demonstrating the effectiveness of a multi-disciplinary skills-set in commercial musical theatre production.
Christopher Mlalazi is an award-winning Zimbabwean author and playwright whose books include Many Rivers (2009) and Running With Mother (2012), and the short story collection Dancing With Life: Tales From the Township (2008), which won an award at the National Arts Merit Awards. His books are studied as prescribed texts in universities.
Eunice Ratidzo Tava is a multiple award-winning actress/director who has been in the industry for 15 years. She has worked with many productions. She ‘graduated’ to a director after joining the HIFA 2-year Directors training programme ‘Direct’ under the mentorship of the Young Vic Theatre UK, and has directed six plays to date.
SOUTH AFRICAN MUSIC DIRECTORS
Bafana Dladla (SA) – After graduating in 2006 from the FUBA School of Dramatic and Visual Arts (SA), where he studied drama, singing and dance, Dladla developed into scriptwriting and directing, and his portfolio reveals his rich experiences since then, as a producer in film, theatre and television, and his involvement in music as a singer, composer and director. Alongside a busy schedule, he is currently studying Community Development with the University of South Africa (UNISA).
Tshepo Pheko (SA) – pianist for the vibrant young South African music group Generation2Generation in Johannesburg, Tshepo studied at the Vusi Mahlasela Music Development Foundation in 2000. He was recruited from among gifted gospel artists and the band G2G has grown from strength to strength playing widely in South Africa.