Moving Selborne play of Soweto uprisings at NAF

SELBORNE College’s play Tableaux in Red: Oil on Canvas, 1976 from writer and director, Jo Stemmet, will be performed at this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

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After receiving rave reviews at the national Afrikaans one-act competition ATKV Tienertoneel in Port Elizabeth last year, Stemmet decided to enter the English version of the play for the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.

“We received so many compliments and many theatre professionals and gurus suggested entering it for the National Arts Fest, so we did,” Stemmet said.

The one-act play tells the story of a painter who is trying to find the right way to portray the events of the Soweto uprisings on June 16, 1976.

As he attempts, erases and reattempts to paint it, he progresses through 12 sketches of the horrific events, the aftermath and the emotional impact of that day.

The 16 cast members, who give an expressive and powerful performance, consist entirely of high school pupils from Grade 8 to matric.

“The whole idea of performing in Grahamstown is to give the boys exposure and an opportunity to play at a professional level – an extremely valuable educational experience,” Stemmet said.

One-woman cabaret treat

Filled with symbolism, realism and shocking facts, and written and directed in a sensible and sensitive manner, the play serves as a powerful reminder of the horrific events and circumstances, but also carries a strong message of hope.

Award-winning South African writer, director and producer, Hennie van Greunen, reviewed the production giving the following compliment: “This is an important play and it should be seen – beautiful work. You moved me, and that for me, is the highest thing in theatre.”

The play will be performed at the Glennie Hall from June 30 until July 3 in Grahamstown. Tickets are available on www.nationalartsfestival.co.za at R60. Student, pensioner and group reservation discounts are available.

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