Posts Tagged ‘thumeka mzayiya’

What would theatre be if we didn’t have to constantly remind ourselves that the show must go on, battered, bruised or blind. Here are some of the things which kept us very much on our toes.

1. The Fire Extinguisher Which Wouldn’t

During a performance of Benchmarks at the National Arts Festival, the policeman came out with a fire extinguisher to put out flames, only the pin had not been released, and seconds before the cue, the problem could not be understood, leaving the masked-performer to enter onto stage wildly mimicking a working fire extinguisher.

2. “Turn your flipping phone off! What? Oh…”

During Pictures of You an obtrusive cellphone went off and before the director could evil-eye the alleged perpetrator in the audience, he recognised the ringtone and realised the sound was coming from backstage…

3. Flip Fail

Christo normally completes an impressive back-flip in Shortcuts, except for that one time in America, where he fell on his head, before dusting himself off and carrying on.  Fortunately, his ego was more bruised than anything else.

4. “That bandage was not just part of the show”

Thumeka performed in Benchmarks with an incredibly sprained wrist but  soldiered on through the cold weather in Grahamstown.

5. Tanya Heywood: The Super Sub.

It was just not Thumeka’s year; just before the run of Benchmarks at Out the Box, she was in a car accident which left her on crutches. Instead of pulling the show, Tanya Heywood was called in to replace Thumeka and learned the piece in less than a week. The show went on to win the Handspring Puppetry Award for Best Puppet Manipulation.

Try that for awesome.

6. Blindman’s Bluff

Despite being amazing mask design, the masks for Benchmarks proved to be very difficult to see through, and when Rob’s lighting design was brought into play, the actors were sometimes walking blindly through the set.

And that, boys and girls, is why rehearsals are so important.

Advertisements

When Thumeka broke her leg, Benchmarks won an award, bringing fresh perspective to the idiom, “Break a leg”.

(It’s not broken-broken, it’s really badly bruised and swollen because some loser drove badly, but the point is, she can’t walk on it, and in theatre, it’s as good as broken, Thumeka played the character Hope and was replaced by Tanya Heywood for the Out The Box run of Benchmarks.)

Ugli Bob, The Shadow in The Background, Jayne Centre Row on the Far left, and the rest of the Benchmarks Crew bearing their characters masks

FYI: “Break a leg” has no definite origin but what is suspected is that breaking a leg refers to breaking onto stage past the curtains that hide the wings, curtains which are known as legs.

The Handspring Awards rounded up the Out the Box Festival on Sunday the 11th of September at the Little Theatre. Handing out the awards were Janni Younge and Chuma Sopotela. Puppets, according to Handspring, are objects manipulated before an audience meaning that masks then also fall under this category.

Here’s what they awarded us:

The Best Visual Theatre Production:

  • Nominees: Benchmarks, Door, Inua
  • Winner: Inua (Adult Festival) presented by Jori Snell and the Baba Yaga Theatre is a search for the essence (the inua) of things spiritual, emotional, physical.

The Best Puppet Design:

  • Nominees: Cristina Salvoldi for Benchmarks, Hillette Stapelberg and Illka Louw for Isangqa/Sirkelpad, Gavin Younge for After Cardenio
  • Winner: Gavin Younge for After Cardenio (Adult Festival), written and directed by Jane Taylor in collaboration with Gavin Younge, Aja Marneweck and Paper Body Collective, is an imagined reworking of the historically archived “missing” play, Cardenio, one of the last pieces Shakespeare wrote.

The Best Puppet Manipulation:

Jane Taylor, Ugli Bob and the fastest hand in the world.

  • Nominees: Benchmarks, Massacre de Mueda, Sadako
  • Winner: Benchmarks (Adult Festival) presented by FTH:K is about three desperate and lonely individuals who get drawn into an unlikely relationship that will lead them on a journey of discovery, companionship, tragedy, and reconciliation.
(Taken from the Out The Box Website)

And last but not least, FTH:K aslo won a small but very important token of appreciation from the Nuwe Hoop Centre for the Hearing Impaired out in Worcester where we have been touring with workshops and shows for years.

Gali with our token of appreciation from Nuwe Hoop!

This is showbiz, and applauses like these mean we must be doing something right.