There is an interesting scene in one of Rowan Atkinson’s TV series, Blackadder, where he travels back in time to when dino-saurs roamed the planet, and later the Ice Age, but one of the funniest encounters was when he met William Shakespeare.
He curses the esteemed writer for making the English language so hard to learn because of his style of writing. Though the scene was meant as a comedy skit, many people probably agree with Blackadder because Shakespeare’s material can be confusing and tedious.
But not if you watch it on SABC1’s Shakespeare in Mzansi series, which is, as the title suggests, an adaptation of the writer’s work for a South African audience.
Today we will witness the Bard’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, only it is set in South Africa and called Goba Msenge. Starring Poseletso Sejosingoe (pictured), the story attempts to retell the classic, but with a feel that is relevant and accessible to a contemporary South African audience.
“We never studied Shakespeare’s plays in school,” said Sejosingoe.
“The only things we studied were poems, so I did not know what to expect of Goba Msenge,” she explained.
In the story she plays Kat, who in the original play was the character Katherina. By that shortening of the name, you get an idea of how “cool” the SABC crew tried to make their production.
“Actually, Kat is short for Katlego and she is a very strong-minded and independent woman who has never been with a man before,” she elaborated.
For Sejosingoe, preparing for this role was easy because she could relate to the character.
“We are not that different so I had an idea of how to portray her. Even when the director had things he wanted me to change, I could do it with ease because I was so deep under Kat’s skin,” she said.
As someone who has just started her TV career, Sejosingoe is thrilled to be working on this production.
“The first time I was on a TV show was on Chandies and I did not have a big part, but that was still fun.
“Now I am a lead character and this is even more exciting for me,” she explained.
In Goba Msenge, we follow Kat and Nonhle (Khanya Mkangisa) who are two of the who’s who on the socialite scene in the Mother City. Love is not a granted in their lives and we see how they try to fight things such as arranged marriages, jail time and so on.
“I know it is an old story, but I love how they have changed it for now. It is relevant to the times we live in and it talks about bling, city life and farm life. It is a great balance and I was privileged to work on it,” she said.
Apart from acting, Sejosingoe is busy with her music plans. Some of you may remember her from Idols in 2003 where she was runner-up.
“I am working on an album that is of an exotic sound and I really hope to be done soon,” Sejosingoe said cheerfully.
• Goba Msenge premieres tonight on SABC1 at 8.30pm.