This is a call for anyone who is interested to learn about setting and operating lights and sound at the Masque.
Not only are there many more shows than before, but as many of you know, John Blewitt has moved away. As a result Gary is snowed under with the technical side at the Masque Theatre.
If you would like to learn more and get involved, or know of anyone who would be interested, please contact Gary direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernie Jacobs lead Actress
John McConnell Supporting Actor
Su Cunningham Supporting Actress
Richard Higgs Best Director
Hi folks. The Masque Theatre is desperately looking for people to help with technical support. The amateur shows aren't paid but the professional shows that we host are paid. One would start off with the amateur shows as training and if commitment is shown, would eventually be put on the paid productions. Our amazing community theatre really needs assistance and support to keep going. Are there people out there who would be interested in being trained to do sound and lighting? Beyond the potential remuneration, it is also a fantastic education. Thanks
Dear MADS MEMBERS
This year’s INTERSOCIETY QUIZ will be hosted by CONSTANTIAL THREATRE PLAYERS in the foyer of the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg on
Sunday 20 November at 18h00 for 18h30.
This is always a fun evening and is a wonderful opportunity to socialise with members of other societies – something we don’t do often enough.
The MADS Committee has already agreed to form one team but we would love to enter another team. If you’d like to be part of a team just send your name to Barbara at email@example.com or, even better - form a team of four and send me the names. Spectators are of course also welcome.
Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to be part of a quiz team or if you will just be coming along to cheer from the side-lines. I have to let CTP have this information by 1 November.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Yours in Theatre
Barbara Basel and MADS Committee Members.
MADS Chairman 2016
Lieske Bester reviews Master Class (August 2016)
This intimate and interesting look at Maria Callas – is appropriately set in the foyer of the Masque Theatre which enhances the effect of her holding a master class for selected aspiring opera singers. We see her as the perfectionist teacher but get to know her as a person a little bit better as she reminisces about her life and its high and low lights.
Bernie Jacobs gives a convincing performance – more muted than I have seen on a previous occasion but all the more poignant for showing the gentler side of La Divina.
The three ‘victims’ as she calls them (Linda Steele, Miranda Lewis, Mokoena Ramollo) produce contrasting and believable characterisations and reactions. Miranda Lewis is particularly impressive..
The accompanist (Wesley Wolhuter) is a star turn on his own with a talent for subtly varying the pieces on sundry repeats – and you will have snatches of that glorious voice from a woman who singly and radically changed the face and voice of opera.
It is not often we have the opportunity to go behind the public face of celebrities and this is a fine example in script, direction and acting.
A short run – only three performances left. Don’t miss it.
One Observer theatre critic deemed it “witty, trenchant, superficially frothy, but actually questioning the empty lives led by indolent privileged people”. Director and talented cast have achieved that in full measure.
The flamboyant and spacious set echoes the era and so does the sound track - the décor is the right side of flashy, providing the cast with a perfect frame work for their intelligent and clearly defined characterisations. Appropriate and stylish period costuming add gloss. Congratulations on the authentic scene changes –- one of my theatre bucket-list wishes - it got its separate and deserved applause.
Playing the flighty females with great flair are Jana Botha as Jane Banbury and Tamika Sewnarain as Julia Sterroll. Their close interaction bounces off each other in a variety of emotions. Their stiff upper-lipped (and very confused) husbands are played with equal panache by Mark Wilkes (Willy Banbury) and Gary Green (Frederick Sterroll).
It’s “cherchez l’homme” on this occasion and the man in question, suitably suave, is played (almost) convincingly by Alastair Duff. Eve Carr illustrates the maxim that there are no small roles only small actors – her body language and facial expression gather a number of laughs of their own and complement the action in general.
N.B.: The play was close to being banned by the Lord Chamberlain (theatre censor) as “the loose morals of the two main female characters would cause too great a scandal”; a production in Amsterdam closed after 4 performances for the same reason. See this show and have an extra laugh (or frown) – how life has changed!
ARTS - Stellar cast earnestly captures Oscar Wilde’s wicked humour.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Three-act comedy by Oscar Wilde. Director Barbara Basel. Set design Alastair Duff. Costumes Barbara Basel and team. Lighting/sound John Blewett. Presented by The Muizenberg Dramatic Society (MADS). At the Masque Theatre until Saturday.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Three-act comedy by Oscar Wilde. Director Barbara Basel. Set design Alastair Duff. Costumes Barbara Basel and team. Lighting/sound John Blewett. Presented by The Muizenberg Dramatic Society (MADS). At the Masque Theatre until Saturday. SHEILA CHISHOLM reviews.
DESCRIBED as a “trivial play for serious people” Oscar Wilde’s last play – The Importance of Being Earnest – found instant success when first produced in London in 1895. This, despite the beginning of court cases that would mark Wilde’s downfall.
But this satirical comedy – in which protagonists skilfully maintain personae mocking the “upper classes”– became even more popular when released as a movie in 1952. Adapted and directed by Anthony Asquith, and produced by Teddy Baird, the stellar cast – headed by Edith Evans as Lady Augusta Bracknell and Margaret Rutherford as Miss Letitia Prism – became hard acts to follow.
MADS director, Barbara Basel, understanding that trying to echo those memorable portrayals could spell disaster, adroitly guided her stellar cast into portraying their characterisations as they “saw” them. Yet, (although the pace of the second act could be crisper), Basel ensured no one lost Wilde’s unique poetic cadences of his rhythmic witty language.
Set against Alastair Duff ’s black and white flats (designed in English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley style) we meet Algernon Moncrieff ’s manservant Lane (Andy Rabagliati) laying a tea-table while Algernon (newcomer Mike Dewar) munches cucumber sandwiches meant for his aunt – Lady Augusta Bracknell (Miranda Lewis) – and her daughter Gwendolen Fairfax (Sara Kate de Beer). Uninvited Earnest/ Jack/ John Worthing (David Sharpe) arrives.
He’s fallen for Gwendolen and has come from his country Manor House to propose. Meeting with unexpected opposition from Algernon the pair “politely” spar until it is revealed that Jack is known as Earnest in town and Jack in the country. It’s also disclosed that Jack has a pretty 18 year-old ward called Cecily Cardew (Grace Brain) who’s governess Miss Prism (Jane Cohen) “is a lady of highest repute.”
To tell more is to spoil Wilde’s plot. But mention must be made of Lewis as Lady Bracknell. Brilliantly played as a snobbish, mercenary aristocrat and Gwendolen’s domineering mother she superbly timed her punch lines to emphasize Wilde’s wicked humour.
Cohen’s Miss Prism delighted delivering one cliche after another while twittering around Rev Canon Chasuble (Richard Higgs) who secretly returns her romantic feelings.
Unfortunately, de Beer’s unflattering costumes rather detracted from Gwendolen’s fixation on the name Earnest. And she appeared more sexy than flirtatious in her first scene with Sharpe. But she, together with the talented Brain, captured the essence of injured dignity when they ganged up against Jack and Algernon, stating “quite categorically” neither could marry someone not named Earnest.
Dewar epitomised a wealthy, idle, self-centred, aristocrat. While Sharpe brought amusing feigned pathos to his scene announcing his brother’s death.
Basel and her cast are commended for capturing the period’s manners to present a highly satisfactory production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
WORLD WAR II ended some 20 years before, but London’s local authorities are still struggling about how to deal with clearing slum areas and reduce a backlog in housing for (approximately) 14 000 people. There’s also a major problem about where to house families when reconstruction commences.
Architect David Kitzinger (Brian Notcutt) has been tasked with designing suitable dwellings and buildings around the area of Basuto Road...an area comprising about 200 acres.
Notcutt out did himself as the idealist dreaming of designing for every family, a small semi-detached cottage, with a small garden squared off by a small fence. Vocally he gives value to every word. Every gesture has appropriate meaning. He leaves no doubt he cares about his commission and the people who will be living there. As well as caring for his wife Jane (Debi Hawkins) and friends Sheila (Melanie O’Conner) and Colin (Norman McFarlane).
A commanding figure, Hawkins has a well modulated voice and strong stage presence. As David’s wife she loyally backs his schemes, but is more realistic...and better at maths... quickly calculating there is insufficient ground on which to build David’s dream homes.
As David slowly realises the enormity of building restrictions, problems with site lines, railway lines, roads, underground gas, electricity and sewerage pipes, so his aspirations of pretty little cottages metamorphoses into two giant 50 storey skyscrapers.
Its around David’s dilemma (as relevant today as back then) that English award winning playwright and novelist Michael Frayn places The Benefactors. The play begins with Jane (an anthropologist) listening patiently to David as he enthuses over his proposed designs. When he dashes out Jane addresses the audience about their present domestic situation which involves their next-door neighbours Sheila and Colin Molyneux.
Sheila - an ex-nurse playing the helpless victim of her husband’s abuse and her own inadequacies - is a manipulator par excellence. She knows exactly what “buttons to press” to get Jane to fetch-and-carry her children, feed them and her husband Colin on a daily basis while manoeuvring her way into a job with David. Petit O’Conner - in her drab dress,
cardigan, dowdy shoes and meek voice - gave Sheila all the woebegone qualities expected from such a duplicitous personality.
For Colin, a classics scholar turned journalist, McFarlane’s short-cropped grey hair, lean, cadaverous face and smirking hewed Colin into the nasty character he is. He’s a man who calls his wife pet names while simultaneously verbally and emotionally abusing her. And pretends friendship towards David and Jane yet isn’t beyond planning to destroy David’s architectural ambitions.
Developing Frayn’s understanding of the human psyche and how people can play off each other requires an experienced and sensitive director. Coleen van Staden fits that role. With admirable perception and without being too “busy” she keeps her team’s action and the dialogue’s impetus moving along at cracking pace by putting Barrie Howard’s “colourless”
minimalistic sets to maximise effect. Although this unusual thought provoking play could have benefited by trimming the first half, never-the-less, The Benefactors is a worthwhile show.
Lieske Bester reviews FLAT SPIN
Directed by Wendy Goddard for Muizenberg Dramatic Society
Masque Theatre Muizenberg until 22 March
Visit our shows page for more information about "Flat Spin", show times and bookings.
"Farce or farcical comedy is probably the most challenging theatrical style to get right but it carries its own special rewards. The hilarious rehearsal period before the reins are pulled in to polish, define and fast- pace the action and double-entendres is a joy and a great learning process for actors. When it works there is the ultimate satisfaction of invoking ripples or bursts of amusement in the audience which energizes performers and proffers true entertainment.
This production has it all and it is not that often that a theatre empties on the sound of loud laughter. But then, the final moments of the closing scene are a brilliant piece of writing and execution!
Farce traditionally needs good looks and good bodies in relevant roles.Lienkie Diedericks and David Luyt as Jane and David Kenway have both as well as an engaging stage presence. Daniel Enticott as Michael Carter charms as the accidental trigger of confusion and commotion, while Jana Botha (Mrs Chatham) and Kim Randleff-Rasmussen (Wendy Wilson) confirm their sense of comedy and ability to identify with any given character. Gary Green and Charnelle Danica are respectively modish and elegant in their roles. For me the most memorable performances come from John McConnell as Brigadier Kenway and in particular Alastair Duff as Dino Giovanni. His participation whether speechless or communicating in realistic but incomprehensible Italian is spot on - his body control simply splendid.
A pleasing cameo performance by Mark Jennings as a police sergeant completes a company that excels in teamwork and interaction, guided by a strong director with a flair for characterisation, timing and stage business. Designing the authentic setting and costumes deserves a separate accolade..
We all need a really good laugh in this far from wonderful world –
Book a seat to spin on this happy wheel of fortune!"