Those who prefer to take a break from the small and big screens have an alternative to catching the action live in theatre. Johannesburg Peoples Theatre brings Beauty and The Beast JR (Junior) which is a play with some of the most talented actors residing in Parkhurst and Craighall Park. The Rosebank Killarney Gazette had the opportunity of meeting three of the actors from the play directed by local veterans in theatre, Jill Girard and Keith Smith.
Alida Senekal, who studied performing arts and drama at Stageworld Theatre School in Port Elizabeth and her third level in musical theatre through Trinity Guildhall London College has a lot of stage experience. Senekal plays the role of Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast JR and said they rehearsed for three weeks.
“Theatre is an amazing, live and beautiful art form because you cannot duplicate a live experience. So the work we put in is visible as the audience gets to see all the aspects, even the sweat. It is also good for the discipline of children as they have to sit still and watch a play and feel the magic captured at that moment.”
One of the young actors whom children can also relate to is Gabrielle Flaum who plays the role of an enchantress who turns the Prince into a beast. Flaum said this is her first major play outside the many schools plays she has done before. “It is a lot of pressure but I make sure to catch up with school work in the afternoons. The adults, including parents, are also very supportive and nice so that helps a lot.”
Rachel Davies, who plays one of the silly girls, gets transformed into a feather duster in the play. Davies said she didn’t know if she was actually going to be able to do theatre at first.
“After the show I still have one lesson to go to so I go and do catch-up work after that. However, it helps that we have adults who guide and show us the way backstage.”
All three actors expressed their passion for art in the form of singing, acting and dancing in theatre shows. Rachel hopes to expand her variety and see herself in international acts in the future while Gabrielle expressed her respect for theatre and the hard work that goes into it.
Senekal said, “We encourage people to come and watch, paying attention to the theme; our characters are turned into objects who make the best of what they have. Audiences get to have fun, bring their children and take photos with the characters afterwards.”
Johannesburg People’s Theatre in Braamfontein will be bringing the pages of Beauty and the Beast to life when it stages the production from Monday, 29 October to Sunday, 23 December.
Details: Johannesburg People’s Theatre www.peoplestheatre.co.za
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