Saturday, December 9, 2023

Shakespeare with a Modern Twist at Maitisong

Maitisong Hall was center stage once again to a theatre master class as it played host this past weekend to the Merchant of Venice, in a remake of Shakespeare’s famous play. The show exhibited acting and dancing and used a lot different techniques, including video projector on a white background to give visual displays with music on the night being provided by Physiologiogog and songs by Socalled and Bundu lama.

The play based on Shakespeare’s original is about the pursuit for the rich and beautiful damsel Portia who has many suitors and the obstacles that she encounters in her quest for true love. With a number of subplots, the play encompasses a number of themes such as love, vanity, discrimination amongst others, giving it depth as is typical with Shakespeare’s plays.

The play took an interesting adaptation as the director added a lot of humour to their play with changes made to the script, to give a local feel. This was apparent in the opening scene of the play as parody of a local news report gave a humorous and local contextualised feel to the play.

Whilst some actors on the opening did struggle with their voice range it was worth noting that some were still making their first strides in the world of theatre.

Senior actor and well renowned Tefo Paya accepted that there were few nervous moments during the days of performances but said the cast had done well considering it encountered various problems leading to performance nights.

“For a lot of the actors to perform Shakespeare in Maitisong as inexperienced actors was quite a challenge, especially for such a technical show,” he said.

Paya also noted that preparation was not ideal in the final stages leading up to the two day show as a couple of actors dropped out for various reasons with the show upon the horizon. For Paya this meant he had to double his roles last minute meaning he had to read from a script as a news anchor but may have been missed by many members of the crowd.

The Merchant of Venice was another overwhelming sign that talent in theatre in Botswana has great potential, especially after seeing Donald Molosi also showcase his skill on the same stage earlier in the week.


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