Following sold-out runs in Edinburgh, London and South Africa, the talented young artist Omphile Molusi makes his American premiere with this critically acclaimed one-man show. Taking its name from the township where Molusi was raised, Itsoseng tells the story of a young man desperate for change. Balancing comedy and tragedy, Molusi deftly portrays multiple characters—weaving together the fortunes and misfortunes of a community following the elimination of apartheid in 1994.
Winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival, Molusi was also honored with the first Royal Shakespeare Company/Baxter Theatre Brett Goldin Bursary Award, which earned the young playwright a life-changing scholarship to study with the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Approximate Running Time: 75 minutes, no intermission
Itsoseng is presented in the The Carl and Marilynn Thoma Theater.
International programming at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is supported, in part, by the Julius Frankel Foundation.
Itsoseng is my hometown. Thirteen years after the advent of democracy in South Africa, Itsoseng township has remained a non-existent place in the faces of many and its people label it “a forgotten township” a hopeless and empty place in the middle of nowhere where nothing good ever seems to happen. The people of Itsoseng lived through this time hoping for benefits of the new democracy. They sat by and watched hopefully as all the other destroyed places were reconstructed. Now after more than ten years of democracy, it seems like luck has run out on their side and dreams have faded out.
My hopes are to see my play ITSOSENG having a life beyond South Africa and to make sure that it can live on to reach as many people as possible. It’s an important South African story especially for anyone who has always been interested in the South African life. Audiences find it an energetic, passionate, entertaining, tearful and provocative play that shows the reality of those who are not part of the post apartheid dreams.
Itsoseng: meaning “Wake yourselves up”
Omphile Molusi was born on April 23, 1981 in Bodibe, a small village outside the town of Mafikeng. He was raised by his grandmother. At the age of thirteen, he moved to Itsoseng township to live with his mother. In 1997 he matriculated at Mphe-thuto Technical High School and then went on to study electrical engineering. He dropped out in his third year to study drama at the Market Theatre Laboratory. He graduated
from the Market Theatre Laboratory in 2004 and since then has been working as a freelance writer/actor.
In 2007 Omphile Molusi was selected as the first recipient of the Brett Goldin Bursary in 2007 awarded by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Baxter Theatre, and given to support a young and outstanding South African actor. As recipient he spent a month working with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the United Kingdom where he developed his play Itsoseng further, which subsequently led to sell-out seasons of the
production at the Baxter Theatre and Market Theatre in South Africa, the Edinburgh Fringe, where he won the Scotsman Fringe First Award, the Soho Theatre in London and Everyman Theatre in Cork, Ireland.
Other writing credits for theater
include: The Sweet Door; Ijo! Pozeng; and For the Right Reasons (in South African Plays for TV, Radio, and Stage, compiled by Robin Malan and Nokuthula Mazibuko, published by Oxford University Press, South Africa, Cape Town). His writing credits for television include: Zone 14, Series 2 and 3.
His theater acting credits include: Romeo and Juliet directed by Clare Stopford; The Mirror by Angifi Dladla; Caucasian Chalk Circle; Much Ado About Nothing directed by Megan Wilson; Echoes by Vice Motshabi; Blurring Shine directed by Dr. Daniel Banks; Julius Caesar directed by David
Dennis; Love of Vultures by Nick Ishmael-Perkins; Angel in a Blue Dress by Themba Mkhoma; Kasiology workshopped
by Robert Coleman; and Sharpeville by Gamakhulu Diniso. Most recently he appeared
opposite Anthony Sher
and John Kani in the Royal Shakespeare Company/Baxter Theatre international production
of The Tempest.
Mr. Molusi teaches the Cecily Berry voice technique at the Actors Centre and at the Market Theatre Laboratory. He shares the knowledge and skills he acquired with young people
in townships and "helps aspiring
actors to grow and send them on their journeys."
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