This Weekend At the Joburg Theatre: Chapter Untitled - Your Love Is My Fantasy
The student production which I have been following since O-Week is really going places. For the Joburg Theatre shows, Chapter Untitled is accompanied by this vague plot synopsis:
"How do you heal a wound, by opening it up again?
Two friends find themselves having to confront a hidden truth, which began to resonate from a catalytic event. A conversation that escaped from their fantasy becomes a point of realisation in addressing the hidden truth…
Chapter Untitled, a love triangle played out from one perspective".
The actors who play Bongeka and Chulu answered some questions for me.
Sihle Dlamini is a marketing student at the IMM Graduate School of Marketing, a founder of the Okwethu Youth Organisation and is involved with the work of Entourage Multimedia, a Johannesburg-based company offering services in marketing communications and AV productions. When asked about his interest in the arts, Sihle says "I have been performing since I was 6 years old, but during my gap year in 2010, I realised that my passion could actually become my career".
Sihle is also an upcoming musician, who has recorded a song with Capris (of hip-hop group ICU, who had a hit with Can't Do That last year) called I'm In Love With You. With the help of Zewande Bhengu and a group of Wits film students, he filmed this video of the I'm In Love With You remix, featuring DotCom:
Commenting on the way the collaboration came together to produce such an impressive end result, Sihle says: "I guess the fact that DotCom and I had been in the same studio space together before made the energies flow. The rapper ended up singing!"
It seems there will be more of this type of easy-listening RnB with a twist for listeners in the future, as Sihle is in the process of recording his EP (to be called "Put This Out") which will be promoted nationwide. Also look out for his TV debut not too long from now.
Regarding his involvement in Chapter Untitled, Sihle reveals that he and the director Merriam Leeuw have been working together, inspiring and supporting each other's work, since 2008. The play raises issues around love and intimacy, and the role of the mind in matters of the heart. Sihle believes the message to take away from the production is that "love is more than a physical connection- it is a connection of the mind, body and soul". If people were mindful of this, and did not undermine the importance of intimacy in relationships, perhaps there would be less irresponsible behaviour, and the issue of HIV would be taken more seriously.
The role of Bongeka, the friend (or voice of reason, and subconscious thoughts manifested), is played by Dineo Makosholo who is a Journalism student at Rosebank College. Dineo went to an arts school before she chose to study journalism, and says that she keeps pursuing drama because it is her passion- she gives her all to it, and it makes her "happy, so happy". It is good to see that there are people who are not giving up on the things that make their lives fuller and more fulfilling.
In the future, Dineo hopes to be able to write and and direct her own plays. She says: "My dream career is to get up every morning to go perform/act for anyone, anywhere in the world. Touch lives!"
On how she got involved with the production of Chapter Untitled: "The director, Merriam, is someone I went to high school with. I bumped into her in town, and when she asked me if I missed acting, I said 'hell yeah!'" Dineo then auditioned for a role, and was beyond excited when she got the news that she had made the cut.
Playing the character of Bongeka has taught Dineo that it is possible for a person to get what s/he wants out of a relationship. "I want to be head strong and know what I want like Bongeka- she understands her role as woman, and the role of a man in her life".
If more young women realised that they have power in relationships, and they shouldn't be afraid to demand what they feel is right for them from their partners, instances of women staying in dead-end relationships and doing themselves some major psychological harm.
Chapter Untitled is story about something which is central to the human experience: love- for oneself, and for others.
It is showing at The Space at the Joburg Theatre on the 24th and 25th of May at 19:15, and on the 26th at 15:00. Tickets are R80, and are available on the theatre's website.
The show is going to be running at this year's National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Sihle plans to use the opportunity to network with influential players in the arts, and hopefully get an invitation to work on productions overseas. Dineo cannot wait to bring the show to the audiences in Grahamstown, and is looking forward to growing as a performer during the experience.
Chapter Untitled is part of the Fringe programme at the National Arts Festival, and is running on the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th of July. The full programme and ticket prices are available on the Festival's website.
Go out and support local student theatre!