Festival showcases talent

[caption id="attachment_39251" align="alignright" width="300"] DRAMATIC SCENE: Pearson High School pupils Emma-Jane Pieters and Janelle Moore while acting out a scene from one of their plays[/caption]

OPERA House artists, Pearson High School and Collegiate Girls' High School drama pupils will showcase their talents at the Grahamstown Festival this weekend. The festival, which is in its 40th year, will see the group of 21 Pearson pupils and three Collegiate girls gather in Memory Hall at St Andrews at 2pm tomorrow, 4pm on Saturday and at 10am on Sunday.

They will entertain the crowds with their performance So, You Wanna Do Drama? while taking in another six shows between performances.

Pearson High School drama teacher Linda-Louise Swain has devised an hour long concept by adding and mixing scenes from a Greek tragedy pop quiz, a form of theatre from Ancient Greece, right through to a play on Shakespeare and thereafter a theatrical play on South African protests.

These mixed scenes showcase the pupils' variety without sticking to one particular style – throwing together a mix of drama, physical theatre and mime – all in one play.

"What we are trying to do with this is to show how you can have fun teaching Greek tragedy. So we have presented the Greek tragedy section in a fun quiz between the team and the audience, where three characters from the play who are in the "hot seat", then have to answer questions about their character," Swain said.

"These plays are quite different from the rest. Pupils will act out unique ways on how to approach drama while covering their journeys through each year in the classroom." The Shakespeare section will start off with an interview with Shakespeare, who is played by one of the pupils. Through funds sponsored by each parent, the pupils will then spend the weekend at Rother Swain Drama Studio in Grahamstown.

The audience will be invited to join in the Lessac and Laban warm-up, an integrated relaxing exercise routine that will be encouraged before the pupils' performance. "We try our best to give the pupils opportunities such as these, to get them involved in the community. The trip to the festival will not be based on raising funds but will give them a chance to have fun and be themselves," Swain said.

Meanwhile, the Opera House will showcase their talent at the festival with five performances over a period of 11 days.

Andiyondoda (Not man enough), a play based on the sacred practice of the amaXhosa, in which a boy is to be circumcised at the bush, will be played by director and actor of the play Mojalesa Koyala at the City Hall today at 2pm, tomorrow at 8.30pm, Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 12pm.

A tribute to Victor Ntoni, one of the most accomplished baritones and instrumentalists in South Africa, will be presented in the Smirnoff Music Room next week, including a showcase with jazz artist, Asanda Mqiki, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

The play, Ghost of Glenmore, directed by Xabiso Zweni and written by Khaya Voko and Xabiso Zweni focuses on apartheid and the new South Africa and will take to the Masonic Front stage today at 12am, tomorrow at 2pm and Saturday at 6pm.

Village of the Forgotten, a play based on the village of Hamburg will see musical director Asanda Mqiki taking to the stage tomorrow, at 5pm, Saturday at 12.30pm, Sunday at 6pm and Monday at 2pm. - Chanice Koopman