Play review: Classic Retakes by Benjamin Bell

A new production takes a fresh look at classic productions for a young audience

Classic Retakes is a vibrant production put together by Benjamin Bell in an effort to bring young people back into theatre. It is a collection of three classical plays written by Anton Chekhov and August Strindberg that have been adapted for a more contemporary audience.

In the last few years theatre audiences have declined, largely because people have many more options to keep themselves entertained. But for some people theatre is simply intimidating, a place reserved for the old and wealth.

“Theatre can be a fun night out.”

“People should move away from the belief that theatre is only about drama and heavy issues, says Bell. In these dark times, comedy is one of the best ways to escape that reality in that moment and enjoy your humanity.”

The hope is to move the production to other spaces around Johannesburg and show young people that theatre can be a fun night out.  While showing writers, produces and director that they can compete with TV and Cinema if their content is relevant and accessible to audiences.

About the play

Three works will form a Season at the Joburg Theatre this month, each piece crafted to leave audiences wanting more. Featuring Naledi award winning Zethu Dlomo along with Thulani Stukie Mtsweni, Lebogang ‘Ketlile’ Mphahlele, Fikile Mthwalo and Andrian Masiba.

In The Bear, adapted by Mphahlele and directed by Bell, the audience can look forward to being entertained by an affirmative action style take-over of Anton Chekhov’s classic farce of the same name. Nopilisi spends her days in mourning crying for her long dead husband. Zilishumi, a would-be debt collector; has come to call in her late husband’s debt. As this duel of Man vs Woman escalates we invite you to share in the ridiculousness of the human condition.

Zethu Dlomo, Thulani Mtsweni and Lebogang Mphahlele in The Proposal, showing at the Joburg Theatre. Photo: Sibongile Machika

Zethu Dlomo, Thulani Mtsweni and Lebogang Mphahlele in The Proposal, showing at the Joburg Theatre. Photo: Sibongile Machika

In The Proposal, adapted and directed by Mphahlele. Jabulani Dlamini wishes to propose to his neighbours daughter in order to lead a regular life despite his heart palpitations and constant fainting. Trouble ensues when the would-be couple cannot agree on anything.

In Stronger also directed by Bell, the audience is invited into the mind of a paranoid middle-class house wife. Trapped by her husband’s hard earned privilege, this mother of two must come to terms with her husband’s wandering eye.

May 19 – 23 at 19:30 pm, May 23 – 24 at 15:00 pm
Joburg Theatre
For more information and ticket sales visit www.joburgtheatre.com

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