Tsotsi The Musical opens at Artscape tonight, Thursday February 8.
The production is not based on the Oscar-winning Gavin Hood film that starred Presley Chweneyagae and Terry Pheto released in South Africa in 2005, but is an adaptation of Athol Fugard’s book published in 1980 and re-written for stage, with lyrics by Mkhululi Mabija.
The musical tells the story of Tsotsi, a hardened township
criminal whose life changes forever after a bungled mugging leaves him caring for a stranger’s baby.
Carynn Wolff of Noordhoek says it promises to be a story that resonates with many locals-and hopefully foreigners as well. Carynn took a break from a
hectic rehearsal schedule last week to chat to us about her role in this premier musical. As assistant st
age manager, she is responsible for the part of the production where creativity meets techno-
Her job serves a dual function of assisting the director and production staff during the rehearsal period and then becoming the person in charge of each performance once the show opens.
Rehearsals began from December 8 to 22 last year, resuming again on January 8, and moving to the Opera House a week ago.
Ater our interview Carynn took the Bulletin to see what was taking place behind the scenes.
In the Opera House, a train scene was projected onto the stage, with directors Neil Coppen and Khayelihle Dominique Gumede, and lighting and sound engineers at the controls.
Across the road, musicians performed upbeat music with a
jazzy African beat, while next door singers warmed up their vocal chords. The music is composed by singer-songwriter Zwai Bala.
And on that subject, it is
singing, while a pupil at Constantia Waldorf that got Carynn onto the path to her future career in theatre.
In Class 12, pupils take on a project of their choice and Carynn sang two arias and wrote a thesis on the history of opera.
“Why not? I liked karaoke and enjoyed singing,” she said with a smile. Her friends had chosen subjects of yoga, drag racing and another built a soccer field.
After leaving school, she worked in the secretarial, finance and insurance worlds and lived in London for three years.
The turning point was when her dad died.
Aged 26, she was devastated. Someone suggested she take a year off to study opera at UCT. She auditioned, got in and graduated six years later.
It was in her fourth year not being cast in anything and wanting to be in Don Giovanni, that she applied to be production assistant. “It was wonderful.
“I felt restful unlike when I would sing and had to take Rescue Remedy. It lifted me and felt like my whole journey led me to this point,” she said.
The following year she ap-
plied to sing in L’elisir d’amore, by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti but this was not to
Instead she was stage manager again which stood her in good stead when she graduated as
she had lots of job offers. “I was born to do it.
Taking an empty shell of the stage, seeing the magic in it, where technology meets creativity,” she smiled.
Tsotsi is her third musical after Calling Me Home at the Johannesburg Theatre, and Tiger Bay at Artscape. Carynn has travelled the world with her craft.
Tsotsi, the Musical will be
on show at Artscape Theatre from today, Thursday February 8 until Sunday February 18.
Tickets range from R125 to R280.