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Jeppe drama soaring

When I think of masculinity, I think of …

Take it like a man, Jeppe’s winning entry into this year’s Gauteng Regional Amateur Dramatics (GRADS) festival, made history and marked the school’s arrival as a serious player in the competitive world of school dramatics.

It was the first time that a production from the school has made it to the final night of a major theatrical competition, and the first time that Jeppe has taken the best play prize.

Mistress in charge of drama, Ms Bronwen Kemp, explains that the play was written by grade 11 learner Kevin Colby, in collaboration with the entire cast, as an attempt to explore what it is to be a man in these times.

“Kevin wanted it to be a play for the boys, created by the boys,” she explained. “It’s not an attack on masculinity, and although its message is serious, it makes many of its points through humour.”

The play’s synopsis reads:

In this coming-of-age experiment, a group of young men set out on a journey to investigate the notion of masculinity. They try to redefine some of the toxic definitions and to discover what it is exactly that makes a man. It is a dramedy that will may make you laugh and cry, but most importantly, it will make you realise that manhood has many layers.

“The adjudicators described the play as ‘raw’, in the sense that it is hard-hitting and explores a topic that is in the spotlight at the moment,” Ms Kemp said. “The production was in the ‘poor theatre’ style, which means the sets were minimalistic and the costumes very simple. The scenes changes are done in front of the audience. Nothing is hidden and it is the power of the performance that has to persuade the audience.

According to the adjudicators, Jeppe got that right.

There is no conclusion, and no answer to the question of what masculinity is. In the final scene the answer to the question: what do you think of when you think of masculinity? Is “I think of me.”

Apart from being judged the best play, Travis Kroggel was named the festival’s best supporting actor, Timothy Colby was the best stage manager, and Kevin Coby and the cast won the award for best original script. Cade Fyfe was nominated for the best director award.

The cast was:

Kevin Colby (writer), Cade Fyfe (director).

Actors: Sergio Domingues, Travis Kroggel, Wandile Mthembu, Kevin Newton, Bayanda Jwara, Christopher Wilmot, Wandile Mvulane, Gabriel Camara, Tiago Correia, Julian Lanning, Jeb Molteno.

Backstage and Crew:

Timothy Colby (stage manager), Lesego Khuzwayo, Andani Khandela, Jordan Brown, Zikode Madondo, Kewan Dormer (lighting), Tivon de Bruin (lighting), Anele Nkosi (sound).

It was a busy three weeks for the Jeppe drama club. Apart for the GRADS festival, they entered Outside Maths Class in the EADS Festival and won the award for the most promising play. It was nominated for awards in four categories: best set, best sound, best supporting actor and best actor (two nominations).

Jeppe High School for Boys and Jeppe High School for Girls collaborated in entering Please in the FEDA Festival. This is the biggest of the competition and it has the highest profile. 58 schools entered this year, and the play won the award for best choreography, which was massive achievement. It was also nominated for the best original music, chorus, ensemble and inspirational play.

It’s been an exhausting month and, for most of the boys, there will be little rest.

“We break for the exams now, but we are already at work on the next project, the major production,” Ms Kemp said. “we aren’t ready to reveal what it’s going to be,” she said. She did confirm, however, that it’s an adaptation of the screen version of a well-known stage musical.