Meet me at Dawn stars Natasha Sutherland and Pamela Nomvete. Picture: Natasha Sutherland/Facebook
Television actresses Pamela Nomvete and Natasha Sutherland, who have remained firm favourites among TV audiences for the past two decades, are currently starring at the Market Theatre in the South African premiere of Meet Me at Dawn, directed by the Sophie Mgcina Best Emerging Voice 2015 recipient, Lesedi Job.

The production is inspired by Orpheus’s desperate reclamation of his wife Eurydice from the underworld. Meet Me at Dawn is written by the award-winning British playwright, Zinnie Harris. It premiered in the Traverse Theatre at the Edinburgh International Festival in last August.

Job is the fourth recipient of the Sophie Mgcina Best Emerging Voice Award. She made her directorial debut with When Swallows Cry at the Market Theatre last year.

Meet Me at Dawn is supported by an all-women design and production team headed by Hailey Kingston in her role as production manager and set designer. Lighting designer Nomvula Molepo, who has worked on more than 100 productions, award-winning costume designer Karabo Legoabe-Mtshali and stage managers Motlalepula Makhate and Malebo Mokoto will support Job’s vision to make Meet Me at Dawn another riveting and emotional roller-coaster ride that will leave audiences gasping.

Quizzed on her decision to work with the two heavyweight actresses, Job chuckled and said: “Why not?”

“I think what attracted me firstly is that these are two actresses I grew up seeing, when I decided I was going to be an actress or director. I remember even watching them when I was younger, being blown away by the quality of performance they brought to South African audiences,” she explained.

Meeting the two actresses seems to have been something fated. Job and Nomvete first met through research the former was doing for a role she was playing. They clicked on a number of things, particularly her passion to mentor young performers and directors.

With Sutherland, Job said she’d also watched and followed her career and realised her versatility. They met while doing Children’s Monologues, and she says she remembers watching Sutherland and being excited that she had the opportunity to experience her on stage as opposed to television, because the dynamic is different.

“Why not put two amazing women together who will complement each other?

“They’re different - they have different styles and energy - but it works. One of the things I constantly do is to unpack, and to never work against what we’ve got. We work with what’s natural,” she said.

Unflinchingly honest and tenderly lyrical, Meet Me at Dawn is a fable exploring the triumph of everyday love, the mystery of grief, and the temptation to become lost in a fantasy future that will never be. Two women wash up on a distant shore following a violent boating accident. Dazed by their experience, they look for a path home. But they discover that this unfamiliar land is not what it seems - and that, though they may be together, they have never been further apart.

Job said the production seemed to have chosen her; it was a serendipitous gift.

“Someone who knows me very well said here’s a gift, direct the play. But also, grief and loss are profound themes in my life. I lost my father when I was 13. And it’s something that I’ve grappled with growing up. It doesn’t really leave you. I object to the fact that you deal with it: you don’t. I object to the fact that you get over it: you don’t. When I read this play, I was like: okay,” she said.

The play carries universal themes of grief and loss. But it is also centered around the relationship between two women - which will push local audiences a little further than is comfortable .

The intimacy of the venue will also enhance audience experiences. Job said for this to be a reality it had to be a collaborative effort because she appreciates a style of theatre that gives audiences a full journey, and it was important to bring on board the vision of the designer as well.

On why people should come see the production, Job said it’s a love story.

“We all love a good love story. It also deals with experiences we’ve all dealt with. But also for me, you get to see Pamela Nomvete on stage, and you have not seen this woman stage since she returned. And seeing Natasha Sutherland on stage. Even if you’re that person that thinks it’s too deep, just to see those two women on stage. Just do that”, she said.

Meet Me at Dawn runs at the Market Theatre until Sunday, April 15.