Rhythm – The Gumboots Show, created and produced by Philippe Barreau will take a short residency at the Soweto Theatre from the 21st of February to the 2nd of March 2020 before heading to other parts of the world.
This production foretells the life of miners through physical performance, it is a historical tale and a digest of the best of the traditional South African dance and song. 16 performers clad in vibrant miner uniform and black boots will take audiences through this experience as they pound the ground with their boots, with dancers beating, tapping, ringing and vibrating the gum. This intense performance will be accompanied by sounds of guitars, piano, percussions, marimba and drums with songs sung in English and isiZulu.
Nomsa Mazwai: General Manager, at Soweto Theatre, says, “We have entered a new era, and it is time to pass the baton from this generation to the next. Soweto Theatre, like other entities around the world is doing just that. I am excited to be leading the theatre into this new era, and for this amazing production to be showcased on our stage.”
Philippe Baurreau Generan Manager of Rhythms Gumboots , had this to say about this phenomenal demonstration of bringing to life the real story of mine-workers from years ago. “South Africans are a dancing nation, whether they are celebrating or demonstrating. It is therefore not a surprise that they’d use dance and music to communicate with one another. The Rhythm takes an audience down memory lane. Those who have worked in the mines will certainly remember those moments, for those who only hear about the experiences mine-workers had, will get to see, feel and be immersed in that environment. The Rhythm is carefully put together, as written by Vincent Ncabash to really entertain and educate the audiences.”
The Gumboots is a re-enactment of the story of the Zulu people as they celebrate their departure from their homes, by a tribal dance before taking the train to work in the South African mines, leaving behind women and children. The miners carry the first rails of the mine, supported by the rhythm of the percussions and the songs.
Like a thousand stomping elephant and the sound of thunder roaring through the African skies, the smell of burnt rubber and sweat from their ebony skins loomed in the air as miners ascended from the mine shaft. Shosholoza kulezo ntaba stimela sipum’e South Africa “move fast from those mountains the train is from South Africa” was one the sounds which echoed from far beyond.
Forced to work in unsanitary and inhuman conditions, many of them lose their lives. While other miners were deported from African countries like Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe where they met with fellow South African miners, various people with their own rich heritage exchanged different rhythms of their language giving birth to the dance of gumboots.
Nduneni-Ngema further states that as a 30-something having been handed the tools to carve the future of Theatre and Performance arts in Soweto, this is an enthralling moment. “This new era will see particular focus placed on celebrating local talent and creating opportunities for the locals . to develop in theatre and performance art. With access to the best technology has to offer in our complex, we will explore new ways of staging indigenous language theatre as was done with Ilembe, a Zulu play about the life of Shaka Zulu which had English surtitles on our drop-down screen.”
Tickets are available on Webtickets from just R100 – R250 per ticket. Students will received a discounted tickets at R60 when they produce their students. Soweto Theatre will also host a one two for one price ladies night special on Wednesday 26th February 2020.