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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THREESOMES (article first published : 2007-11-9)

What happens when three healthy, virile, twenty-something young men with hormones raging, sharing an apartment, get attracted to a member of the opposite sex? This is the premise of Threesomes, a new one-act play written by three drama students from Maryland University currently on a Student Exchange at the Drama and Performance Studies Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

The writing and ideas belie their young age. It gives a perspicacious view into the minds of young men, trying to make careers in the modern world, comedic relationships young men have with each other, the development of friendships and whether such friendships can withstand betrayal and loss of trust. Actions indeed have consequences.

The three who have written and workshopped the play are Travis Hudson, Kevin James and Patrick Letterii under the able direction of Tamar Meskin. Who better to portray the work on stage but the three of them, as Zack, Avery and Eddie, respectively?

Avery has met and fallen hopelessly in love with Kelly, an artist, and yearns for the approbation of his two friends in his choice, pleading for their approval of her good looks. They have not always warmed to the beauty of his previous choices. Eddie, the Lothario of the three, boasts constantly of his conquests with members of the opposite sex, not always being believed by the other two. He has succeeded in obtaining voice-over roles in animated films, to the derision of his friends, despite his earning big bucks on occasion. Zack on the other hand spends his life attending auditions, with sparse success, and often has his head in clouds of poetry, invariably wishing to audition using poetry readings. He has fallen hopelessly in love with the self-portrait painted by Kelly.

At the start, one might think it very lightweight with the three protagonists being only interested in liquor and gambling, as per the script and the abundance of liquor on the side table - enough to satisfy an army barracks - and the cards and gambling tokens on another table. However, the play has some very funny throwaway lines and deals brutally honestly with serious issues of romance and betrayal.

The set, an apartment somewhere in contemporary metropolitan America, sets the scene admirably: a typical bachelor pad with books, magazines, newspapers, empty snack packets and cool drink cans strewn all over - any wife, girlfriend or housekeeper's nightmare. To accommodate the two scenes in an art gallery, there is a raised platform at the back of the stage with a large suspended picture frame mid-stage. This was a superb idea as it enabled the audience to appreciate the actions and expressions of the actors as they viewed the painting. Their acting ability also comes to the fore as they imbibe more and more liquor. It's hard to believe it was water they were drinking.

Here is your chance to see a slice of contemporary American Theatre right here in Durban before they return to the States where they will also present the play. Threesomes is produced here by the Drama and Performances Studies Programme, UKZN, in association with DBH Productions.

Threesomes ran to very good houses last week at the Square Space Theatre on the UKZN Durban campus and the run has been extended until November 11. Performances are November 9 at 19h00; November 10 at 14h00 and 19h00; and November 11 at 15h00. Tickets are a very affordable R20 throughout (R10 students, scholars, pensioners, or block bookings over 10). Bookings or further information from Claudette Wagner on 031 260 3133 (between 08h30 and 16h00 weekdays) or Bill on 076 470 8930. Bookings can also be made via email meskint@ukzn.ac.za




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