The Children’s Monologues were first created in 2009 when Dramatic Need ran a workshop process with over 300 children from Rommulotsi township outside Viljoenskroon in the Free State focusing on a day that they would never forget. The testimonies of the children were then given to top South African, British and American writers who crafted the them into monologues. The Children’s Monologues were first performed in 2010 and then again at the Royal Court Theatre in 2015 under the direction of Danny Boyle. In 2017 James Ngcobo directed a production for The Market Theatre. In all these productions, the monologues were performed by adults including such actors as James McAvoy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nicole Kidman, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. This production is the first time that these monologues of grief, loss, love, friendship and bravery are performed by young people other than the children of Rommulotsi. Despite their differences in circumstance the young people of OY!Theatre bring to the fore the amazing wisdom, humour, vitality and grace of these children for whom this performance is in honour.
Created by Dramatic Need
Directed by Lesego Chauke
Dramaturgy by Jaqueline Dommisse
Lighting designed by Frans Mandilakhe Zunguze
Written by Napo Masheane, Dennis Kelly, Jamie Minoprio, Amy Jephta, Tom Stoppard, Jack Thorne, Joel Horwood, Rachel De-LaHay, James Graham, Yael Farber and Mongiwekhaya
Performed by the young people of OY!Theatre
Directed by Lesego Chauke
Performed by Joel Oberholster, Ella Feigelson, Asha Feigelson, Zingce Mlanzeli, Stembiso Sibanda, Nandi Tavares Calburn, Songe Mlanzeli, Zozi Manyisane, Halo Verwey, Zorya Yarrow and Michael Kingwill Cloete
Lighting Design – Frans Zunguze
Stage Manager and Lighting Operator – Jasmine Callaghan
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Initiated in 2018, OY! Theatre, a project of Theatre Arts, is a performance-based neighbourhood theatre company for young people between the ages of 13 and 18 years. The company meets weekly on a Monday and Friday evenings. Run by a dynamic group of professional theatre makers, OY!Theatre is a place of deep experiential learning that gives young people an opportunity to engage with all aspects of performance and theatre making. Since 2018, OY!Theatre has presented seven productions and worked with Jaqueline Dommisse, Megan Choritz, Standard Bank Young Artist 2021 Thando Doni, Rosa-Karoo Loewe, Thembela Madliki, Lesego Chauke and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana. This is their second visit to the National Arts Festival.
Lesego Chauke is a theatre-maker and scholar. She is a PhD candidate at the UCT Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies under the Re-Imagining Tragedy from Africa and the Global South (RETAGS) program. She has provided technical support for local and international and was the dramaturg and lighting designer for A Faint Patch of Light, directed by Qondiswa James. She participated in Gavin Krastin’s performance art festival, Arcade, in collaboration with Namisa Mdlalose and Mdlondiwethu Dubazane respectively. She directed the WhatsApp play, The Shopping Dead, which debuted at the first virtual National Arts Festival.
Jaqueline Dommisse is the Artistic Director of Hearts & Eyes Theatre Collective, a small independent theatre company in Cape Town; and served as Festival Director of ASSITEJ South Africa’s Cradle of Creativity, an international festival of theatre for young audiences and Out the Box, a festival of puppetry and visual theatre.
Jaqueline is a passionate theatre maker with an eclectic style which includes everything from puppetry and circus skills to contemporary dance and spoken-word. Her professional theatre productions have toured nationally as well as to Canada, The Netherlands, France and the UK.
Directing credits include Dennis Kelly’s DNA and two plays by Dawn Garisch: Accident and Egg 3 Stories. Both My Name Is Rachel Corrie by Alan Rickman and Sadako by Peter Hayes performed at NAF, The Market, The Baxter and toured France. As well as several award-winning plays by Peter Hayes, she directed Martin Moran’s The Tricky Part; Remix Dance Company’s Bluebeard and Stone Words a spoken word production by Khadija Heeger.
Her teaching has been focused on the NGO and Community Theatre sectors and she has contributed to two Creative Arts text book series.
Frans Mandilakhe Zunguze was born in Cape Town. He is a stage manager, operator and lighting designer who has worked as a venue manager at Theatre Arts since 2017. He has freelanced as a production manager with a range of productions including Theatre Duo’s national tour of Tswalo. He has worked on a number of different festivals including the National Arts Festival Makhanda, Infecting the City, the Cape Town Fringe and the ICA’s Live Art Festival.