In a year that brought a range of excellent theatre experiences for young audiences to the Market Theatre Foundation, with the Cradle of Creativity Festival alone delivering over 5000 audience members, The Terrified Talabalushi, by acclaimed Cape Town-based writer, Megan Choritz, now comes to The Market.
The Terrified Talabalushi is a theatre piece with music for children, directed by award-winning Omphile Molusi and composed by the multi-talented Volley Nchabeleng. The Kwasha! Theatre Company, who have visited schools this year with Skin We Are In, is joined by two seasoned actors, Sanelisiwe Yekani and Siyambonga Mdubeki to bring this playful and meaningful adventure to life.
Set in the Knysna forest, the protagonist is Tokkie, a terrified young Talabalushi. Tokkie’s family have reached their wits’ end because their youngest, Tokkie, is terrified of everything, but mostly he is terrified of the light. This means that he can’t go out scaring, which is what he is meant to do.
Most people don’t know what Talabalushis are, which isn’t surprising – they are very secretive and are only active after sunset. A Talabalushi is a small, Southern African, mischievous creature, a combination of a goblin, a spirit, and a tree creature found in the unseen side of South African forests, and sometimes even closer to our villages, towns, and cities. Talabalushi came about to scare, confuse, and disrupt humans when they get too big for their boots. It is said that they are distantly related to the tokoloshe, but nobody has ever been able to prove it.
Fun and delightful experience
In 2019, the play was selected to be part of the ASSITEJ South African leg of the African Playwriting Competition. For this premiere production of the play at The Market Theatre, Megan Choritz has, in consultation with director, writer, and dramaturg Omphile Molusi, developed the script further.
Choritz shares, “I had the best and most productive time with Omphile. What a gift, to work with him. He is thoughtful, kind, brilliantly clever, naughty and fun. He has helped me turn The Terrified Talabalushi into such a delightful text and I know it will grow, change, and evolve on the rehearsal floor.”
Omphile has brought together a formidable creative team to create a fun and delightful experience bringing the Knysna forest and some of its creatures to The Market Theatre. Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and percussionist, Volley Nchabeleng, is adding live music to the work which will undoubtedly create a fitting atmosphere and sound to the world of the play.
What: The Terrified Talabalushi
Where and when: Market Theatre, Johannesburg from 23 November to 17 December 2023