Press: Mdu Kweyama, breathes new life into Reza de Wet’s Missing

October 18, 2015

Baxter 2015 artist-in-residence, Mdu Kweyama, breathes new life into Reza de Wet’s Missing, translated into English from her classic Mis, at the Baxter this October for a short season.

 

Baxter 2015 artist-in-residence, Mdu Kweyama, breathes new life into acclaimed South African playwright Reza De Wet’s Mis, which has been adapted from the original and translated by Stephen Stead into English, under the title Reza de Wet’s Missing.

 

The short season with only 10 performances, takes place at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 14 to 24 October, at 7pm nightly. It has been made possible through the support of the Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, Arts and Culture Trust and the US Woordfees.

 

The play stars Faniswa Yisa (Born in the RSA, Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking, Voices Made Night), Clyde Berning (Hamlet, The Great Gatsby, Mass Appeal), Daneel van der Walt (Long Street Nights, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dalliances) and Sonia Buqwana (Amaza, Bash or Be Bashed, Xhokaans).

 

Kweyama takes the play out of its better-known Afrikaans idiom and places it into a universal realm as the young director brings more physicality to her poetic writing. The magical-realist play about a young daughter’s escape from her dysfunctional rural family brings women who are trapped and scared into the spotlight. How far will their fear take them?

 

He explains, “I was looking for the ‘right’ text that would also allow me the scope to combine text and dance or physical movement. Added to that it was important to consider something that was relevant in contemporary South Africa. Reza de Wet’s script grabbed me from the outset – the images which she conjures with the words and subtexts appealed to me straight away. Women who are trapped, scared or missing, does not only apply to one particular community. It is relevant to most communities in this country and many other countries in the world, for that matter. So I could make it universal and that is very exciting for me.”

Kweyama graduated with a Performance Diploma in theatre in 2004, an Honours Degree in directing and education in 2012 and last year he completed his Master’s degree in directing - all from the University of Cape Town Drama Department. Before that, he trained as a contemporary dancer at Jazzart Dance Theatre.

 

Over the last 10 years, he has gained extensive experience in theatre and dance, performing in a wide range of work that includes MacBeth, Hamlet, Verkeer, Altyd Jonker, Karoo Moose and Onnest’Bo. In 2004 he was awarded the Best Student in Movement Recognition at UCT and in 2006 he was nominated for the best newcomer in dance and acting at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK). In 2007 he started working in television, performing in Shooting Stars, Stokvel and Montana and then in 2008 he received Naledi awards for best actor in a lead role and best original choreography for Karoo Moose.

 

In 2013 he won the best director award at the Setkani Festival in the Czech Republic for his adaptation of Mike Van Graan’s Brothers in Blood and last year he directed Mike Van Graan’s Return of the Ancestors for the National Arts Festival, the Vryfees in Bloemfontein and at Artscape.

 

The artist-in-residence programme has afforded the young theatre-maker the opportunity to ‘incubate’ and develop the work, and comes as a culmination of the process during his tenure at the Baxter. Earlier this year he collaborated with dancers Grant van Ster and Shaun Oelf to present Most Honest Man, as part of a double bill of dance, where he was responsible for direction and choreography.

 

Reza de Wet’s Missing previews on 14 and 15 October, opens on 16 October and runs until 24 October at 7pm nightly. There is an age restriction of 13 years.

 

Booking for Reza de Wet’s Missing is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet and tickets are R100 per production. For discounted corporate, schools or block-bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962, email sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993, email carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za.

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