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TAXI JAM FOR DUT (article first published : 2008-08-15)

This DUT Department of Television and Drama Studies will mount the award winning South African musical Taxi Jam directed by Themi Venturas at the Courtyard Theatre from August 14 to 22.

The production was first staged in the Studio Theatre of the Playhouse as part of the Kwasa internship programme and won several regional and national awards in that year. It was awarded the Best Production of a new South African Script in 1990.

Some 18 years later, the show is set to be remounted in its entirety with the DUT students under the direction of Themi Venturas and musical direction of Tiki Nxumalo. The musical written by Themi Venturas out of the improvisations of the 1990 Kwasa interns deals with the trials and tribulations of a young taxi conductor. It deals with the era just before democracy, when violence in the townships was endemic, when people’s lives were inextricably linked to politics. Your life was not your own. Every week saw another funeral which inevitable turned into a political rally.

The production is choreographed by Mdu Mtshali, who also teaches movement at the DUT and has a cast of 48 extremely talented students. Music composed by Themi Venturas and Tiki Nxumalo ranges from ‘Mbthanga’ in the various shebeen scenes, ‘isicathamiya’ in the very funny funeral scene, reggae, rap and soul.

Taxi Jam now reads a little like a period piece because much of the action no longer happens in South Africa in the same way today, and yet many of the show’s conceits are universal and are as relevant today as they were 18 years ago. Poverty still exists for many, street children still abound, joblessness is still a problem, crime persists, people still disappear (for different reasons).

The production opens runs from August 14 to 22 at 19h00 at the Courtyard Theatre, Mansfield Road, DUT campus. There is secure parking at Gate No. 4 opposite the Courtyard Theatre. Tickets R15 booked through Ronicka Sirputh on 031 373 2194.




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