‘SHE DIED DREAMING’ WOWS AUDIENCES
By: Sonam Bhagwandas
Laughter, tears, excitement and joy filled the Playhouse Loft Theatre as the first production of the South African Women’s Arts Festival, She died Dreaming, took to the stage on Thursday.
Written and directed by the much-admired Jillian Seleke-Mokoto, receiver of two FNB vita Awards, the play features a cast of top performers, including Nomsa Buthelezi (Skwizas), Kelly Khumalo, Zama Ngcobo (Generations) and Linda Sebezo (Generations).
The production narrates the life of loneliness of Hilda (Nomsa) who hides her emptiness from her three friends. They all are lead to believe that she has found the man of her dreams and cannot wait to meet him. Unbeknown to them, the much sought-after man only lives in her dreams.
She Died Dreaming allows the audience some insight into the minds of women and their thoughts on love and life.
In an interview with Iziko, Director and writer of the production, Jillian Seleke-Mokoto, talked about the production being one of those untold stories of women that needed to be told.
“There are many social issues in South Africa that are not talked about and She Died Dreaming I believe was a story that had to be told and was told best by a woman. There are very few women writers in the country and I felt that this story had to be written by a woman and it bothered me for some time until finally I decided to write it,” said Mokoto.
Mokoto also mentioned his intentions behind doing such a production. “I wanted to make people aware that there are several others out there who are committing suicide because they cannot handle the pressure of society. In the production Hilda took her life because she was unable to continue with the façade that she put up for her friends. These are real issues that women go through, real feelings and emotions that tear their world apart.”
Making her debut on a theatre stage for the very first time, singer and actress, Kelly Khumalo, was thrilled to be a part of such an exhilarating and heart-touching story. In the production Khumalo plays the role of one of Hilda’s friends.
“As this was my first performance on stage I must be honest I was extremely nervous but once the evening progressed it became effortless and really fun; nothing can go wrong when working with such highly talented women. After trying out doing a theatre production I would definitely love to be a part of another one,” said Khumalo.
Members of the audience were left in tears as the show ended with a heart-breaking scene in which Hilda commits suicide.
Mulalo Nemataheni, a member of the audience said, “I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the show. It kept you wondering what would happen next and it did not disappoint. The ending however, had me in tears. I believe this was a perfect way to portray how women feel when they are lonely or in love.”
The opening show for SAWAF was definitely a major success. If you missed out don’t despair, there are still a few more productions (like Mother to Mother, Hope, Imvula and Botoo) to watch at The Playhouse during Women’s Month.