Magnet Theatre opens its doors to a small, appreciative audience

(Lowering masks for the picture) Magnet Theatres artistic directors, Mark Fleishman, Jennie Reznek and Mandla Mbothwe.

Guests arrived at the Magnet Theatre in Observatory last week for the first time since March 2020.

The theatre is currently hosting a limited run of four performances of a new production called Ingqumbo.

Wearing masks, sanitising and physically distancing before entering the theatre to sit in “bubbles” of families and friends was the order of the day on opening night, Thursday April 22.

“It’s a miracle we’re still here,” said visibly excited artistic director Jennie Reznek.

“The building is still here, the staff, the passion – in bucketloads, and our loyal funders,” she added.

Ms Reznek said they were concerned about whether people would want to return to the theatre, especially with some having closed down.

Directed by Magnet alumni Thando Doni, from the sixth cohort of Magnet Theatre trainees, Ingqumbo’s music is by Babalwa Makwetu, choreography Lusanda Dayimani, design Linda Mandela and lighting by Themba Stewart.

The story is inspired by AC Jordan’s novel, Ingqumbo yeminyanya, The Wrath of the Ancestors. It deals with the beliefs and customs of the people who belong to the amaMpondomise clan and is told in Xhosa, Sotho, Afrikaans and English.

Ingqumbo tells a powerful story of two young people and questions the existence and influence of the ancestors in the choices that they make in their lives.

What happens if they don’t do what is determined for them by tradition? What happens if they don’t follow in their father’s footsteps? What happens if they ignore the signs of their clan? An important piece balancing tradition and modernity, opening spaces to explore at this confusing time, which are the paths to follow.

You can contact the Magnet Theatre at 021 448 3436, or email nomsa@magnettheatre.co.za