A Pair of Shoes and a Whirlwind of Fun

Trust me - you’re never too old to enjoy a shoe party.

Paired is a charming, inventive and playful performance for two to seven-year-olds, produced by Cape Town’s acclaimed Magnet Theatre (with the support of the Goethe-Institut and Helios Theater). Directed by Lwanda Sindaphi, the piece was devised with the cast of four engaging Actors: Livie Ncanywa, Meagan Booysen, Natasha Gana and Lwando Magwaca

Take a moment to watch the following video (4 minutes) to see how Paired captivates and delights an audience with imagination, songs and fun:

Keep scrolling down for a written transcript of the interview clips from the video:

LWANDA SINDAPHI: It was a devised process. We had to choose a specific object that would dominate the whole performance – and not have many objects – because if you have many objects then you will confuse the kids. They have to have an iconic image which is the object or the material. But we chose the shoe as our own object because it spoke to us.

LWANDA SINDAPHI: So it’s all about going back to their reality and then take some of the things and then we put them on stage. And they will love it. Like you’re being secretive and they’re like, “Oh! What’s going on?” Because they’re very, very inquisitive.

LWANDO MAGWACA: When we were devising [with] shoes we were very mindful of having narrative. So, it’s not narrative, it’s subject to one’s interpretation. Because we all walk, we all take [a] journey in life. When Lwanda was saying, “Let’s play with kids”, he was saying to us, “Let’s go back to the basics, let’s go back to family. Let’s go back and yield many possibilities.” Now we even play at home, we play wherever. We used to go to preschool, we used to take the show to townships. We’ve moved around from place to place and we’ve created many joyful smiles. And then they have contributed a lot to us also as performers. There were components and fragments that came from the devising process that made meaning for us as performers. So, as we were devising them and they were making meaning, we were blocking them and we were using what we found to project what we play, what we showcased today.

NATASHA GANA: It’s very hard but you just have to be ‘being’. You know, they [the kids] get excited and all that but you just have to focus. Don’t get too much because when you get too much then you’ll be more than you. So, you just need to engage and to understand and just be ‘being’. It’s very nice but it’s a lot of energy. But I enjoy it – I think more than performing for adults.

LWANDA SINDAPHI: The performance is all about exploring. We’re exploring. When you see something new, you need to knock and say, “this is new”. And when you hear a new sound you’re like, “Oh, this is new.” So it’s all about exploring – the same thing they [the kids] do in life. We’re taking all of those things and we put them onstage but now they are … we have a technique of putting them [together] using rhythm, sound. So I think it’s very important to work with kids.

NATASHA GANA: They [the kids] want to explore the shoes and whatever. Paired is a nice show, yeah! You should watch it. I’m actually recommending it for even [the] older age[s], not only for the young ones.

LWANDO MAGWACA: I think Paired needs to tour. I think Paired needs to be seen more. There are more friendly tools [like shoes] at home that kids can enjoy playing [with], except [just] shining, glittering stuff. Small stuff, but we encourage them to be more creative. I think what Paired is offering is also [this idea] that kids are very intellectual beings. They need to be loved, to be taken care of, to be entertained, to be welcomed into this huge vast world of adults. So, I think we are beginning something new – a message that must cross all forms of life from [the] different places where kids are coming from.

This performance was held at Magnet Theatre’s ‘Rocking the Cradle’ Fringe Festival, as part of the ASSITEJ Cradle of Creativity 2017. You can find more information and links to further resources about Rocking the Cradle here.

Tegan is a strong advocate for the development of Theatre and the Arts in community settings and has been involved with numerous Applied Theatre programmes throughout her professional training and experience. Tegan graduated with a Master of Arts with Distinction in Applied Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has professional experience in Community Performance that promotes Young People’s expression and engagement through Puppetry and Theatre practices. As well as collaborating and performing with ERTH Visual & Physical Inc and Welsh theatre company PuppetSoup, she has co-directed and worked alongside Shop Front Arts Co-Op Junior Ensemble of 8-14-year old’s to create the original devised production, The Unknown. Tegan is currently working as Teaching Artist for Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘School Drama’. This is a Teachers Professional Development Program designed to improve teaching and learning by modelling the use of drama-based strategies with quality children's literature.