‘Actress’ explores the complexities of a woman's life

Talia Kodesh. Picture: Supplied

Talia Kodesh. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 29, 2023


“Actress” is a compelling musical dramedy that explores the complexities of a woman's life as she navigates various roles and responsibilities.

The play takes the audience on a journey filled with ups and downs, from stress to success, anger to auditions, and everything in between as the story unfolds.

“Actress” is a tale that anyone who has ever had to adjust to expectations in all walks of life will relate to.

Co-written by Talia Kodesh and Bruce Dennill, the play is directed by Daniel Geddes, and set in New York and South Africa.

Geddes’s diverse background in music has given him a unique perspective in directing the show. He sees music not only as a standalone element but also as a tool to drive storytelling.

“I think having had such a diverse background in music, allows me to engage with it from both sides of the fence; seeing the music as it is, but then also how it interacts and drives the storytelling,” says Geddes.

“I think having to act and work in theatrical pieces with music gives you a new perspective on how it can integrate into the action, and often be another character for the performers to work off.”

This production will provide audiences with a relatable and entertaining exploration of the challenges and triumphs that come with juggling multiple roles in life.

Talia Kodesh in the production “Actress”. Picture: Supplied

Kodesh, who doubles as the co-writer and performer, highlights the importance of the themes within the show and the relatability of those themes to the audience.

“The themes of the show are in fact the most important elements, while the storyline is merely a platform upon which to exhibit these themes.

“They comprise all basic themes of failure and success, loss and discovery, heartache and triumph and many more,” says Kodesh.

“The concept that I perhaps relate to most is that we can and should be able to be vulnerable, and not have to ‘act’ all the time. We are less alone than we think.”

Kodesh says “Actress” differs from other shows in that it is a unique creative endeavour with no prior version to reference.

“It offers the opportunity for fresh character creation, the development of brand-new songs, and the excitement of workshopping a piece of theatre from the ground up.”

This process of creation and innovation appears to be a particularly exciting and fulfilling aspect of “Actress” for Geddes and the creative team.

“So far the major difference is that there is no previous version of this show. No blueprint, prior run or alternate construction. We are creating this piece of theatre from nothing. Every element is brand new.

“I’ve never had the experience of creating a character from scratch, singing brand new songs and workshopping a piece of theatre… and it is a thrilling experience.”

“Actress” taps into the shared human experiences of balancing different aspects of life, making compromises, and finding one's identity.

According to Dennill, the production’s relatability is likely to strike a chord with a wide and diverse audience, leaving them with both a sense of connection and an enjoyable theatrical experience.

“The relatability of the story is the main thing,” says Dennil.

“Although it tells the story of a woman who has to make tough decisions around being an artist as well as a mom, wife and many other roles, the theme is that compromises always need to be made because focusing on one part of our lives to the exclusion of all others is dangerous and potentially damaging to relationships, among other things applies to all of us.

“If you feel like you have given up a part of yourself to get a job you needed or to enter into a relationship or to have children or to move to a different city or a dozen other similar situations, you’ll get what (the) Actress is going through.

“That’s why we haven’t given her a name: she is every woman and every person who is watching. The script is also funny and warm and the songs have strong hooks you should be singing a couple of them as you head into the foyer afterwards.”

“Actress” offers a blend of humour, emotion, and music to create a memorable and relatable theatrical experience.

It is currently on at Pieter Toerien's Theatre and Studio at Montecasino until Sunday, October 8.

Tickets are available at Webtickets from R180 to R220.

Don Quixote. Vadim Muntagirov as Basilio and Marianela Nunez as Kitri. Photographed: Andrej Uspenski

“Joburg Ballet’s Don Quixote”

When: September 29 to October 8.

Where: Joburg Theatre.

Joburg Ballet is set to host two esteemed international ballet stars, Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov from The Royal Ballet, for their production of "Don Quixote" at the Joburg Theatre, this spring.

Joburg Ballet CEO, Esther Nasser expressed excitement about Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov’s visit, and highlighted that their previous scheduled appearance in March 2020, was postponed due to the pandemic.

She emphasised the significance of their performance and the opportunity it presents to South African audiences to witness this acclaimed ballet partnership on the Joburg Theatre stage.

Nasser also expressed gratitude to the Michel Tesson Trust and Friends of the Ballet for their generous support in making the season of "Don Quixote" possible.

The production promises to be a remarkable ballet experience, combining international talent with local dancers to bring "Don Quixote" to life on the stage in Johannesburg.

Tickets cost R110 to R650 via Webtickets.

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