The Grade 10 and 11 learners’ trip to see the Market Theatre’s production of Sophiatown was not without its organisational problems, with the school reluctant to shell out the money in advance; I had to field a series of increasingly frantic emails from the theatre’s marketing manager. Fortunately, we were able to send it in (the nick of) time, and at 10 am on Friday morning, 27 learners, plus Val, me, and Mrs Nolo Lange, an English teacher at the school, set off for the 11 o’clock schools’ matinee.
It was a packed auditorium, the audience in a riot of different coloured school uniforms (plus one set of white students in civvies.) The production, yet another South African classic, regularly revived, was superb. It was a musical depicting one household in the lively Johannesburg suburb of Sophiatown in the 50s, and showed their eviction as part of a mass relocation and demolition in the early days of apartheid. The songs – a tribute to the music of the period – were terrific, and the performances sharply comic.
Our learners’ behaviour was exemplary, and their reaction very positive (though some preferred the school production we had mounted a couple of years ago.) We raced back – courtesy of school bus-driver and legend Francis – and arrived just in time for school finish and my rehearsal. A success!