By BRUCE DENNILL
The Market Theatre launched its first online theatre season Ditshomo (“legends” or “folk stories”) to great success on Thursday 18 June 2020. The season comprises brand-new theatre productions curated for live streaming. The season has so far premiered productions by award-winning choreographers, playwrights, and directors.
The legendary Paul Slabolepszy’s Endangered, starring Anthony Coleman and Kate Tilley, is about a couple who are in throes of a painful divorce. The production takes the audiences through a roller-coaster of emotions as they watch the estranged couple navigate this tumultuous time together.
The schedule for the remainder of the season is as follows – all productions go live on the following platforms at 12h00: Instagram – @markettheatre; Facebook – @TheMarketTheatre; and Twitter – @markettheatre.
Ithemba/Hope Thursday 16 July 2020
Elleloang Thursday 23 July 2020
Endangered Thursday 30 July 2020
Ascend/Descend Thursday 6 August 2020
The Table Thursday 13 August 2020
Antony Coleman talks about his career and his part in Endangered.
Live performance is both one of the main drawcards of being a performer and one of the most stressful parts of it. At one point in the process of being involved in a new project do you cross that line? Do you have techniques to improve either scenario – consistently enjoying the performance aspect (it is a job, after all) or mitigating the stress (of all the issues – from iffy pay to annoying audiences)?
Out of all the disciplines related to performance I find theatre the most rewarding, as the response from the audience is immediate and tangible. That immediacy brings a huge amount of stress as you noted, but it’s completely worth it. I’m not sure that there is a line to cross but as far as mitigating the stress goes, I try to go moment by moment, listening and responding according to how we’ve rehearsed and also to what the audience is giving.
How do you choose projects? What needs to turn you on before you audition for something? What are the hooks in a script that you like to hang a performance or the generation of a character on? Depth, dialogue, nuance, reality versus fantasy – what speaks most profoundly to you?
I love that you think there’s a choice! Money, baby! Honestly, I challenge myself to take any work and try to bring my best to it. The director and the producers get to choose. It must be nice. The things I love being involved in often walk a line between comedy and tragedy. The ability to laugh and cry about the same experience says a lot about the human condition. Also, if Paul Slabolepszy suggests you for a part, you do whatever you can to get it.
The lifestyle of a working actor is a difficult one to square with family life, or a day job, or half a dozen other aspects of a traditional routine. How do you make it work? This is a completely different scenario under lockdown – what are the practical implications for you, in terms of working under the COVID-19 restrictions?
I’m not sure that I like this question, I love my work as an actor but it does have its drawbacks in terms of living a traditional life. I seem to thrive on anxiety, criticism and creativity. Ah, the joys of being a freelance actor. Under lockdown, the stress levels have gone through the roof. I’m certain that this is a common experience in all professions. However, as an actor, we do fall through the cracks when it comes to support. For example, we are not entitled to UIF, even though we pay towards it. Under lockdown, a relief fund was offered to artists, but very little understanding of how we make a living was taken into account. Needless to say, like many artists, I didn’t qualify for relief. I commend and congratulate whoever did qualify though, well done to you…that one guy…
As a performer, you’re often asked to deliver on a set of expectations – the playwright’s; the director’s; the rest of the casts’; the audiences’… What sort of input do you prefer to (demand to?) have as an actor? What other roles do you, or would you like to, play in the industry – now or in the future? Writing, production, direction? And what about each or any of those excites you?
I find that I’m at my best when I have a sense of collaboration and ownership in working on a project with a director. The more valued I feel, the more confident I feel in accessing the vulnerable spaces needed to do my job. I worked in TV for a good couple of years and once overheard a director saying, “Alright, where are the monkeys? Lets tell them where to stand.” He was referring to my co-star and myself. We were behind him. Needless to say, that was a rather demoralising environment to work in. Working in theatre, I find more a sense of collaboration and respect than in other performance areas. I would love to engage more in writing and directing. I have recently been involved in co-creating a theatre piece for William Kentridge’s Centre For The Less Good Idea and the experience was life-changing.
Tell us about Endangered, and what makes your character interesting to play?
Rather than tell you, just watch it. It’s a new piece by Paul Slabolepszy called Endangered. The joy of this piece is that you never know where it’s headed until the end. He is a master storyteller. It is full of surprises and twists and it’ll keep you hooked. The same goes for my character, you think you know what he’s about but he’s also full of surprises.