Photo by Michael Brosilow.
Gregory (Omphile Molusi) hears voices from the past in Cadre, a world premiere by Omphile Molusi at Chicago Shakespeare Theater February 15–23, 2013 and The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 20–April 14, 2013.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) and The Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa host the world premiere of Cadre, written and directed by Omphile Molusi, opening at The Market Theatre on South Africa’s Human Rights Day, March 21, with performances continuing through April 14, 2013. Following workshops in Chicago withCST Creative Producer Rick Boynton, the work premiered to critical acclaim as part of CST’sWorld’s Stage Series in February. Inspired by true events in the life of an activist during and after the apartheid era, Cadre is produced by CST, with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd in association with The Market Theatre of Johannesburg and Adelaide Festival of Arts.
South Africa embraces its complex history and cultural diversity through theatre, music, dance and other art forms, invoking the memories of our common ancestors who have bestowed a rich inheritance upon us. For these reasons, the South African Consulate in Chicago collaborated and supported Chicago Shakespeare Theater during the performances of Cadre during February 2013.
“Cadre speaks to audiences across nationality, class, gender, race, age and language barriers, as the arts and music has always been able to connect and relate people across borders,” saidSouth African Consul General in Chicago Vuyiswa Tulelo.“The South African Consulate in Chicago looks forward to continuing the relationship that has been forged with Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of its cultural diplomacy and strengthening the overall relationship between South Africa and the USA.”
Cadre explores the journey of a young South African man struggling to navigate his way through the tumultuous political landscape of apartheid. Omphile Molusi takes on the principal role inCadre, and is joined by South African actors Sello Motloung and Lillian Tshabalala. Motloung has performed in multiple productions
at The Market Theatre, and Tshabalala reunites with Molusi after performing under his direction in several plays.
“As part of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s ongoing commitment to serve as an international theater reflective of the world-class city of Chicago, we were thrilled to work in partnership over three years with Omphile and the talented South African cast of Cadre as they developed this poignant tale,” said CST Executive Director Criss Henderson from Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is attending the opening performances of Cadre. “To now share this new work with South African audiences at The Market Theatre demonstrates the impact international artistic collaborations have in creating and proliferating work by artists of our time.”
The critically acclaimed premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in February was hailed by theChicago Sun-Times, highly recommending the production as “intense and moving…with writing that is direct and unadorned, acting that is immediate, visceral and unaffected.” The Chicago Tribune heralded the production’s artistry exclaiming that, “Molusi, who performs the show with two powerful South African actors, Sello Motloung and Lillian Tshabala, is a truly remarkable actor with an unmistakable moral authority and bleeding vulnerability…”
Winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award (2008) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for his playItsoseng, Omphile Molusi was the first recipient of the Royal Shakespeare Company/Baxter Theatre’s Brett Goldin Bursary Award (2007), which earned the young playwright a life-changing scholarship to study with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and developItsoseng. The play received additional accolades at the Baxter Theatre and The Market Theatre in South Africa, the Soho Theatre in London, Everyman Theatre in Cork, Ireland and Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2010, where Molusi was recognized with a Black Theater Alliance Award in recognition of his powerful performance. An actor and playwright, Omphile Molusi has published several plays.
ABOUT SOUTH AFRICAN CONSULATE
The South African Consulate in Chicago’s key focus is the promotion of South Africa’s interests and foreign policy in the 14 Midwest States under its jurisdiction.
A SA-US Strategic Dialogue was launched by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and South African Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Ms. Maite Nkoana Mashabane, in 2010.
The SA-US Strategic Dialogue provides an opportunity for both South Africans and Americans to enhance our political, social and cultural ties as well as consolidate our economic partnerships. The United States is an important partner of South Africa and it is within this context that we work to deepen SA–US relations in the Midwest and grow partnerships and exchanges in all spheres.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare’s work has been recognized internationally with three of London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare, unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students, and serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series.
Chicago Shakespeare’s collaboration with Omphile Molusi’s in the creation of Cadre is emblematic of the wide scope of work presented through the World’s Stage Series—a program that brings the world’s most exciting theatrical events to Chicago audiences and presents Chicago Shakespeare’s work abroad. Chicago Shakespeare has collaborated with more than 600 international artists representing 16 countries on five continents, engaging audiences in a dialogue with established and emerging theater artists from around the globe. Strengthening its reputation as a leader in cultural diplomacy, CST regularly partners with respected international affairs organizations, including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago Consular Corps, Chicago Sister Cities and World Business Chicago.
ABOUT THE MARKET THEATRE
The Market Theatre, founded in Johannesburg in 1976 by Mannie Manim and the late Barney Simon, was constructed out of Johannesburg’s Indian Fruit Market—built in 1913. The theater went on to become internationally renowned as South Africa’s “Theatre of the Struggle.”
The Market Theatre challenged the apartheid regime, armed with little more than the conviction that culture can change society. The strength and truth of that conviction was acknowledged in 1995 when the theater received the American Jujamcyn Award. In providing a voice to the voiceless, The Market Theatre did not forego artistic excellence, but, rather, made a point of it. Its twenty-one international and over three hundred South African theater awards bear eloquent testimony to the courage and artistic quality of its work. During the past three decades, The Market Theatre has evolved into a cultural complex for theater, music, dance and the allied arts. Today, The Market Theatre remains at the forefront of South African theater, actively encouraging new works that continue to reach international stages.