Drama Gentle story has staying power

Gentle story has staying power

The musician sits stage right. He is surrounded by instruments: a triangle, wind chimes, cymbals and a huge tin bucket. There are a line of pedals on the ground at his feet, to control the sound of his warm red acoustic guitar. He plucks and strums, smiling genially at passing audience members.

A barefoot woman, Warona Seane, walks in behind the delegation of St Andrew’s students. She ushers some latecomers to their seats and waits until everyone is seated. Seane has a quiet authority and the chattering audience hushes. This actor demands attention.

Warona Seane delivers a performance of quiet authority in Tin Bucket Drum. Photo: CuePix/Jeff Stretton-Bell

Warona Seane delivers a performance of quiet authority in Tin Bucket Drum. Photo: CuePix/Jeff Stretton-Bell

“Once a year on the day of her passing, we gather beneath the old baobab tree,” she says. And so the gentle allegory commences.

Tin Bucket Drum has been on the Festival programme for years. Written by Neil Coppen, winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama in 2011, the elegiac one-woman show has been drawing audiences since its debut. It tells the story of Nomvula, a girl with a heart beating too loudly for the silence-worshipping society she is born into.

Matthew MacFarlane, the talented multi-instrumentalist, is a vital part of the play; his music punctuates drama, adding layers of meaning to the action on stage. In Tin Bucket Drum, music is the language spoken in the background, narrating emotion.

Seane fills all the roles in the story with confidence, from the kind Mkulu to the cruel Censor to joyous Nomvula herself. She shines when representing the childish energy of the little girl, but her talents are most apparent in her goosebump inducing embodiment of Nandi, Nomvula’s mother.

An excellent script, powerful acting and beautiful music make Tin Bucket Drum worthy of its status as a Festival staple.

Kerstin Hall
Cue student reporter

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