Ngqwele Dube, Sunday Life Correspondent
LOCAL theatre play, “Tellers: The Musical” is set to showcase at Intwasa this year before heading to Malawi and Zambia.
The hit musical premièred in Harare during Hifa last week to rave reviews. The play was held at the amphitheatre stage of Harare’s renowned art institution, Gallery Delta in its second showing after it first had a run at the Bulawayo Theatre last year.
The play’s director, Josh Nyampimbi, said they have already been booked for Intwasa with dates in Zambia and Malawi still being worked on.
“We have engaged promoters in the two countries and they are working in suitable dates which we hope will be out soon,” he said.
Tellers, a Nhimbe Trust’s Women in Theatre and Television (WITT) musical, depicts the story of eight women toiling at a supermarket that is struggling to stay in business due to the economic and financial woes gripping the nation in addition to rising competition from “illegal” vendors operating outside the premises of their place of work.
The women’s love lives, family issues, financial dire straits and religious beliefs are illustrated throughout the musical and intricately woven through music, dance and elements of poetry to tell a story not only filled with drama and despair but also hope and triumph.
The play brings together the crème de la crème of the local theatre scene both on and off stage. Adopted from acclaimed playwright, Raisedon Baya’s play Women Without Husbands, the musical is directed by Memory Kumbota with experienced choreographer Richard Ndlovu in charge of the all important dance aspect of the play while Bafana Dladla of Gugothandayo fame handles the music and score.
According to a review by critic, Penny Yon, the musical is “Deeply moving and at the same time witty and comical, the storyline flows smoothly from one scene to the next, and the English/Ndebele mix is easy to follow”.
The production is musically sound with a tight delivery of everything from mbaqanga and afropop to jazz, gospel, rap and the blues.
The quality of acting brought to mind world famous actors of the past who were more than just a pretty face, but also mastered the arts of acting, singing, dancing, adds Yon.
A bare, simple, even minimalist set design (five chairs and a small table) was transformed into a busy supermarket in the excellent delivery by the lively cast of young women as cashpoint tellers.
The audience seemed to be at first taken aback and then wholly delighted by the quality of the whole performance, which earned a standing ovation.
The play introduced to Harare audiences fresh new talent from WITT that includes Noma Damasane (a.k.a. Lady Tshawe), Donna Ncube, Memory Mguni, Loisianna Charumbira, Delicacy Ngulube, Sharlene Ndlovu, Melaine Moyo, Lyndah Sithole, Angel Mpofu, Lorraine Sibanda and Nolizwe Ngwenya. The band behind the scenes featured Marvellous “CeeJay” Tshuma (guitars), Blessing Sitotombe (bass), Mehluli “Gomez” Dube (percussion) and Raphael Mapira (keys).
Among the audience was National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Deputy Director Nicholas Moyo, who said of the play: “A great production, professionally and beautifully done; the directing is unparalleled and raised the bar for local theatre!”
Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust director, Nigel Munyati said the musical should be turned into a film.