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  • Khanyisile Mokwena, Rhiannon Smith, Unam Sefani, Bongi Ngoma, Nikita Mathebula

Issue no. 10


 

Backstage

By Khanyisile Mokwena


Tradition is what makes a school unique, tradition gives a school its individuality. Tradition ties the people in a school together, despite their diversities and conflicts, tiffs and tats. Tradition binds people together in a way that very few other things can and it mulls over the very things that cause distraught.

But that’s specifically good tradition.

The Oxford dictionary defines tradition as; the passing on of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.

One of Penryn College’s traditions is House Plays, a creative, competitive house event. House Plays is an event filled with laughter and suspenseful silence as the actors perform a piece they have worked on for weeks.


On the day of the performances, we watch the lines and ideas come alive. Like magic, every actor slips into their role effortlessly, becoming a different person for one night only, after weeks of critiquing and scrutinising every single aspect of their roles.


When interviewing the best actor and best actress, we dug deep into how playing their roles shaped them as people and what they would change about the past now having been through the present.


Does experience make the actor?

When Mpilo .... and Unam .... were asked about how long they had been participating in the house plays, they answered simply, “4 Years.” but as we know, COVID took a lot from people. Including their opportunity to perform in the years 2020 and 2021.


Not every actor is going to like their role, some may even hate it but the execution is all that really matters.

When asked about their thoughts on the characters they had been given the task to portray, Unam expressed his excitement about getting to portray a drug dealer, a criminal who answers to a higher power. Mpilo shared this feeling of excitement about her role, what amused her most was the inside joke among the Kite matrics that brought this character into reality.


Scripts and lines can be a drag, the endless practising and memorising of words, sentences and phrases that make your character themselves. Not to mention cues, order and emotion.


When asked about how much of their lines they got to workshop, they responded saying “all of them”. A tradition that this brought about was improvising new lines at every practise, keeping it fresh and allowing practise for improvisation if anything went amiss at the final performance, in order to prepare for anything and everything.


This year’s topics were hard-hitting, current issues in South Africa. When asked about how the topic their house dealt with changed their perspectives and views on the current issues in South Africa, the actors emphasised how they would entirely forget the topic at times, getting lost in their roles and performance.

Staying conscious and informed of current affairs in the country and in the entire world is a tough task, especially in this day and age when mainly society and entertainment is pushed into your face.


Playing certain characters can completely alter a person’s way of life, way of thinking and how they are as a person entirely. They were asked about whether or not playing the characters they were given changed them in anyway.

Unam answered, “... it made me realise how easy it is to get involved in gang activity.” Bringing into play the amount of gang activity and violence in our everyday South Africa.

However, Mpilo's answer focused on how she was personally affected by playing a duel character. What she grew to love about her role, “It just made me grow to love my passion and taught me how to connect with switching between different characters.”


Both the actors who won best actor and best actress are not drama students, when asked about if they could go back to the past and take drama as a subject, Unam answered that he wouldn’t, though his love for drama is true and evident to everyone, it doesn’t fit in with his current life plan. Not every career path makes room for performance arts.

However, Mpilo welcomed the idea. “There’s doing something because you want to secure your future and there’s doing something because you’re passionate about it…” says the actress. The fine line between a passion that you have and a job you have to fulfil is clear, but which one pulls you is determined by the person.


Drama on the move

Rugby Tour

Art in the Mother City

Play for the badge on the shirt

All the best!

 





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