Find the perfect dress for every occasion...
THE third annual Durban University of Technology (DUT) Children’s Theatre Festival next week is to feature the works of celebrated children’s theatre writer and professor emeritus Pieter Scholtz.
Each year the festival honours a Durban writer.
Tonight caught up with one of the event’s organisers, Pamela Tancsik, to find out more about their selection of Scholtz’s work this year.
She said that with Scholtz being a treasure of a writer of children’s plays, mainly during the 1970s and 1980s, they thought it time to introduce him to a new generation of young theatregoers.
“Most of the children have not seen his plays. Their parents and grandparents may remember them, but this is a new generation,” she said.
Scholtz is the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, emeritus professor of drama. He headed the drama department for more than 20 years. He also founded and ran the KwaSuka Theatre, where regular productions for young audiences were presented. He has written and published countless plays in a series entitled Plays for Young Africa, two of which received the Amstel Playwright of the Year award in 1979 and 1980.
“Debbie Lutge and I are the ‘older generation’ of directors, but some younger directors from the university will also be directing some of Professor Scholtz’s plays, so it will be interesting to see their take,” said Tancsik.
Scholtz said that each of the varied themes – which range from environmental and animal welfare to adventure to folklore and more – was the result of what stimulated him at the time that he wrote the piece.
“Never patronise your audience and never speak down to children. I’ve always treated them as equals. The second rule is always try to extend the imagination of children, like with animals who speak. But it has got to be logical and believable.”
Commenting on the modern-day trend of relying heavily on computers, hand-held touch pads and the like to teach children, Scholtz said while these gadgets opened the mind to a range of stimuli, this made children “receptively lazy”.
“It’s all there, you don’t have to think, it’s all there in front of you.”
Scholtz said he would be attending every performance as he was interested to see what DUT Drama had done with his plays.
The festival takes place at the DUT Courtyard Theatre from September 17 to 21. It features five original productions by Scholtz. The plays are aimed at Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and will be performed by first-year drama studies students.
According to the festival programme, the plays being performed are:
Tokoloshe, directed by Siza Patrick Mthembu (September 17: 9am to 10am and 11am to noon). It is based on a Zulu folk tale about the tokoloshe, who is probably the most notorious trickster in Zulu folklore.
Children of the Sands (September 18: 9am to 10am and 11am to noon). Directed by Tancsik, it tells of the battle for survival of two youngsters in the Kalahari after their twin-engined Cessna 414 crashes. They encounter a couple of weird desert creatures. At the time of going to press, we were notified that this play was sold out.
Samantha Seal (September 19: 10am to 11am and noon to 1pm) is being directed by Marcia Peschke. Samantha Seal decides to appeal to the World Court against the culling of seals.
The La-Di-Da Hadeda (September 20: 10am to 11am and noon to 1pm) is directed by Nellie Ngcongo and concerns the meaning of Christmas for a young African herdboy. It is centred on the character of Da, a Black Ibis.
Where the Rainbow Ends (September 21: 10am to 11am and noon to 1pm) is directed by Deb Lutge and is about a group of desperate and weird scarecrows who are pursued by a malevolent villain – “Terminator Crow” – and who are transformed through lively audience participation.
Ticket price is R20 a person, block booking R10 (group of 10). For more information contact Lebohang Sibisi at 031 373 2194.