The 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Award-winning play, Sainthood, which interrogates all-boys school culture, comes to the Baxter. Written and directed by Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni, the play will be at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 6 to 27 February 2019.
Writer/director Tiisetso began writing the play after lis tening to the stories of some of her male friends – former ‘saints’ boys. As a former ‘saints’ girl herself, she had a perfectly good idea what she was dealing with and while some of the experiences were delightful, others were completely petrifying. This dichotomy gave rise to the birth of this vibrant work.
Tiisetso explains, “Adolescence is such an important developmental stage in one’s life and we spend most of it at school and more-often-than-not, we brush it off as something fleeting, when it can be so defining to one’s early adult character.”
“I have watched countless representations of popular high school culture and most of them are usually quite whimsical and animated in nature. I wanted to revert the trope as a ‘survival of the fittest’ representation of South African private schools’ culture that shows that it is not as glamorous as it is so often portrayed.”
Five fictional matric boys in Sainthood
She has assembled a talented, all-male cast comprising recent UCT graduates Adam Lennox, Tevin Musara, Cullum McCormack, Mphumzi Nontshinga and Simphiwe Shabalala.
Sainthood follows five fictional matric boys in a fictional private school through a non-fictional narrative created from stories from books, newspaper articles and anonymous interviews with ‘saints’ boys that cover a range of topics from sexuality to racism.
With the more recent outcries caused by incidents at unisex schools such as the Pretoria Girls High hair policy saga of 2016, the St John’s College racist educator incident of 2017 and the Parktown Boys sexual assault tragedy of 2018, Sainthood is not saying anything new, it’s just saying something that has been kept quiet for far too long.
Tiisetso not only writes and directs, she is also a choreographer and performer. With a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Political Science, Philosophy and Drama from Rhodes University and a Bachelor of the Arts (Honours) in Directing for Stage, Writing for Film and Avant-Garde Film from the University of Cape Town, she attempts to make provocative work that deals with themes of violence, sexuality, race and history within a contemporary South African setting.
Where and when: Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, Baxter from 6 to 23 February 2019