Non-drama students show talent

A WITS theatre piece destined for this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown has no script yet and is to be played by a cast of non-drama students.

TABLEAU: Wits Non-drama students practise still scenes during the In/Sight call-back auditions last weekend.

In/Sight has been commissioned by the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU), and the lack of drama students is deliberate.

“It is to forward people to attain different skills sets outside of what they are studying,” said the play’s co-director Tony Miyambo.

The SDLU commissions a theatre piece every year and Miyambo said it was part of their mandate to cast non-drama students. “It’s also to benefit the greater student population.”

The script still needs to be created, but it will deal with the concept of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

People suffering from BDD are excessively concerned with body image and obsess over perceived physical flaws.

Co-director Raezeen Wentworth said the story would be constructed from whatever the cast brought to it.

Different styles, such as dance, movement, music, shadow, poetry and dialogue would be incorporated into the piece.

“It’s like putting a puzzle together. The students are the puzzle,” said Miyambo.

The final call-back auditions and workshops were held last weekend.

Miyambo said the auditions were an opportunity to see what the students could bring.

“We are really pushing hard to find narratives, images and ideas from them. The story could change and mould right up until the moment when it goes on stage.”

Wentworth said the benefit of non-drama students was that they had not gone through a training system.

They had no constructed view of what had to be done in the play.

“We have the opportunity to groom them from scratch and they bring completely raw talent.”

Bridget Mtshali, 1st year LLB, took part in the auditions and described herself as “naturally curious”.

This had led her to learn a few dance styles.

She did not see drama as a career, but as her “own world”, or an escape.

“I can vent, brainstorm in this small world of mine. It does not matter what other people and society think of me. It’s one of the spaces where you feel free to let out.”

Sabelo Chuene, formerly an Accounting, but now a B Mus Foundation student, was part of last year’s cast who performed in Grahamstown.

“It was life-changing. A ctually, from that experience, I made the decision to change my studies. Today I’m very shocked that I wanted to be an accountant.”

Wentworth, who studied Directing at the Wits School of Arts, originally produced a 15-minute, two-person play on Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) for a class project.

In/Sight will feature a cast of eight students and will be an hour long.