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Mom’s talent unmasked

Creative parent responsible for 22 unique works of art for school production

Alexander Road High School pupils, back, from left, Liyema Ntini, Lonwabo Nyezwa, Megan Calder and, front, Emma Saunders and Nathan van As wear their ‘Romeo and Juliet’ masks
Alexander Road High School pupils, back, from left, Liyema Ntini, Lonwabo Nyezwa, Megan Calder and, front, Emma Saunders and Nathan van As wear their ‘Romeo and Juliet’ masks
Image: Brian Witbooi

When the Alexander Road High School cast took to the stage this week for their post-apocalyptic version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the pupils donned 22 unique steampunk masks made by a parent.

Corinne Calder, 49, of Sunridge Park, has helped build theatre props for her child’s plays for the past five years

But this time, the teenagers’ rendition of Shakespeare’s famous love story saw them kitted out in metal-look masks that were uniquely designed for each of them.

The masks were made from scraps of jewellery, plastic, old watches and bottle caps.

“The masks reflect the edgy take on the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet set during the end of the world, where everyone is forced to wear gas masks,” Calder said.

“I am a creative individual and I enjoy any craft project and the process of making these masks has been absolute fun.

“I had to make them look as real as possible but not topheavy because the pupils have to wear them on stage for long periods of time,” she said.

Calder, who is the props coordinator, said she was going to miss the job as her daughter would matriculate this year.

“I have been involved in all the plays since my daughter, Megan, started at the school and I really don’t know if I will still be involved next year.

“This is very much like having a baby – each year I say I am not going to do it and then closer to the time, I think it won’t be that bad,” she said.

The cast is made up of mostly drama pupils, with the average age 16.
“I also see creating things as a stress release and healing therapy for me,” Calder said.

“The instruction I was given was that the pupils needed masks for the theme, and I am pleasantly surprised at how they turned out.

“The result is much better than what I anticipated and the kids love them.

“I noticed when they wear the masks there is a sense of pride which is a great feeling for me as well.

“I am amazed at just how good these kids are at evoking emotion on stage and telling this story so beautifully – a few tears have rolled just watching their hard work on stage come together,” Calder said.

The rough-around-the-edges play sees the pupils make use of a motorbike and a VW Beetle shell on stage.

Calder’s previous plays include Shrek and The Addams Family.

“This year’s process of making the masks was a lot shorter than last year and I really enjoyed it because I had creative free rein over the masks.

“Last year’s The Addams Family props took about three months to complete, which was quite intense.

“I have already received purchase offers for the masks once the show is done but I am really proud of my work with these.”

The play at the school ends on Saturday.

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