Zakes Mda’s acclaimed first novel, Ways of Dying, will be presented by the Baxter Theatre Centre and UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS), at the Baxter Flipside for six performances only, from 10 to 14 November at 7pm, with a Saturday matinee at 3pm, on 14 November.
Adapted and directed by Lara Foot, who directed the work 20 years ago at The Market Theatre, the cast is made up of 14 fourth-year students from the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS).
The formidable award-winning creative team comprises Mdu Kweyama (direction and choreography), Bongile Mantsai (direction and music) with set design by Patrick Curtis, lighting design by Mannie Manim and costume design by Leigh Bishop.
All performances will be limited to fifty percent capacity, with all COVID-19 protocols observed as regulated at Level 1 lockdown restrictions. These include the availability of hand sanitisers, tracking and tracing recorded, wearing of masks, physical distancing and audience members are advised to arrive an hour before the start of the performance to avoid delays.
“The CTDPS is thrilled to be collaborating with The Baxter on our final fourth-year production,” says Sara Matchet, head of CTDPS. “2020 has proved to be exceptionally challenging in terms of teaching in the Performing and Creative Arts departments at UCT. The loss of face-to-face contact teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our programmes enormously.”
She continues, “The collaboration with The Baxter and with Lara Foot as director, promises to offer our graduating Acting students an experience that will make up for what has been lost. And a theatrical treat for local audiences to experience this work and creatives involved.”
The cast comprises Liam Walsh, Tamzin Williams, Megan Tromp, Francis Sholto-Douglas, Klara Schoonraad, Emma-Jane Pieters, Bokang Ntsutle, Basetsana Motloung, Tshiamo Moretlwe, Tebatso Molapo, Cullum McCormack, Brett Ilsley, Anathi Godlo and Sam Alexander.
The story follows Toloki an eccentric and dignified professional mourner, who meets his childhood friend Noria, at her son’s funeral. They fall in love and move in together, each one teaching the other how to heal and live.
Ways of Dying is the 1995 novel by South African novelist, poet and playwright, Zakes Mda who has won a several major South African and international literary awards for his work. The book received the M-Net Book prize, and it was shortlisted for the Central News Agency (CNA) Award and a Noma Award. Some of his other works include The Heart of Redness, Our Lady of Benoni and The Zulus of New York.
The Mail and Guardian described the book Ways of Dying as “… a moving and startingly original novel …” and veteran writer Sindiwe Magona said, “A flawless, intricate, seamless weave, with magic and mystery … Mda is a master storyteller”.
With only six performances from 10 to 14 November at 7pm and a matinee on 14 November at 3pm, ticket prices for Ways of Dying are R75 and R50 for students. Booking is through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at www.webtickets.co.za or at Pick n Pay stores. For discounted school or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities, contact Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.