Every Year, Every Day, I am Walking
Director: Abigail Nkosi Christmas
Cast: Kim Forbay, Lilitha Makhawula, Neleagh Davids, Branden Mpateni, Francesco Mbele.
Lighting and sound: Griffin Trace
Stage manager: Layla Mayet
Costume design: Abigail Nkosi Christmas
Set design: Layla Mayet
Backstage: Jiten Parbhoo, Tanaka Madyira, Hein Ginster
Greenside High has a reputation in the Theatre world for constantly and consistently delivering excellence. This year was no exception. The production, Every Year, Every Day, I am Walking carried Greenside’s name and reputation high into unfamiliar territory.
In previous years, we have entered two productions into the festivals RAPS, EADS and FEDA. However, this year, we changed this to enter one into the FEDA original script section, and the senior production into FEDA, EADS and GRADS.
GRADS took us down a new road. While both EADS and FEDA demand one performance before the semi- or final respectively, GRADS however, asked our production for three performances over three legs at different venues before the finalists were announced. In GRADS, we competed against twelve schools; at EADS, we went up against eighteen schools; and in FEDA, we competed against sixty-seven plays.
Every Year, Every Day, I am walking by Mark Fleishman et al is a dramatic production which tells the story of a mother and her two daughters who live in Central Africa. In a violent raid of their village, their house is burned down. One daughter and her mother are forced to flee and walk a long road to end in Cape Town in search for safety and a place to call home. All the way, Aggie writes letters to her missing sister. The play focuses on dislocation, xenophobia, the meaning of home, the process of healing and the power of hope.
Being very experienced, Abigail bravely took up the challenge and was at the helm of this production. She directed the cast and crew with true creativity, purpose, theatrical sparkle and love for what she does.
The cast and crew consisted of Kim Forbay as Aggie; Lilitha Makhawula as Mama; Branden Mpateni, Francesco Mbele and Neleagh Davids alternately as Ernestine – in a clever trick of direction. Branden, Francesco and Neleagh also acted as chorus and ensemble alongside Jiten Parbhoo and Tanaka Madyira. For Lilitha, Neleagh, Jiten and Tanaka, it was their first time involved in the process.
The production started rehearsals in February; learners were at school every Saturday and at the long weekend, as well as for a week of their Easter holiday. The joke of ‘sleeping at school’ became a reality to these dedicated students when Ms Hicks decided to host the sleepover during the long weekend of Freedom day. We rehearsed late into the night, then slept in the freezing cold lecture theatre, to be woken by loud music at 7am.
The production’s first performance was unusually early. The first leg of GRADS took place on 6 May at Trinity House. Here, we received six nominations: Best Director (Abigail Nkosi Christmas), Best Ensemble, Best Set, Best Actress (Kim Forbay), Best Supporting Actress (Lilitha Makhawula), and Best Lighting. We won best overall play.
With barely enough time to catch our breath, the cast was then expected at the second leg: 11 May at Edenvale High. Again, we dazzled with our performance and received nominations for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Francesco Mbele), and Best Ensemble, and won the leg again.
The third leg had us up against defending winners, Sutherland High School. They cast no shadow over us and we took the nominations again: Best Director (Abigail Nkosi Christmas), Best Set, Best Backstage, Best Ensemble, and Best Actress (Kim Forbay). We won yet another leg.
These spectacular results put us through to the GRADS final on 24 May at the UNISA Little Theatre in Pretoria. After getting rather lost and confused while searching for a MacDonald’s around the notorious one-ways of Pretoria, we braced ourselves for the final. As this was our first year in the competition, this was already a massive achievement. The final set us against Sutherland High and Trinity House.
The performance that night was breathtakingly beautiful as the whole ensemble put their hearts onstage. We won awards for Best Director (Abigail Nkosi Christmas), Best Ensemble, and Best Actress (Kim Forbay). In the end, we took first place in the GRADS festival.
We performed FEDA at the Joburg Theatre the Saturday before the final on 20 May. The cast produced not only a stunning performance but also decorum that made one proud to be a Greensider.
On the night of the GRADS final, the cast was rejoicing. The idea of having a break before Saturday’s performance at EADS was something we may have considered before we were informed that we had made it through to the FEDA semi-final the following night.
The cast rallied and put on yet another spectacular performance that sent us to the finals that Saturday. We were among only a couple of public schools to ever do so.
Due to the obvious clash, we requested and were allowed to move our EADS performance to the Friday. Though almost completely exhausted, the cast and crew drew energy and focus from each other and managed to pull off their third overwhelmingly beautiful performance in a row. The performance earned them passage to the EADS final on 3 June.
The FEDA final was a performance to behold. The magic and love displayed by all onstage and all backstage was passed into the entire audience. At this prestigious event, we received nominations for Best Backstage, Best Costume, Best Lighting, Best Soundscape, Best Physical Theatre, Best Ensemble, Best Actress (Kim Forbay), and Best Director (Abigail Nkosi Christmas). We won the awards for Best Physical Theatre and Best Soundscape.
Headed into the EADS final on 3 June, we held the nominations for Best Poster, Best Set, Best Actress (Kim Forbay) and Best Ensemble. Kim Forbay was once again crowned as Best actress in a Drama. This production placed 2nd out of 18 schools – another phenomenal achievement!
This cast and crew have an amazing feeling of positivity and optimism. They are proof that families can be made. They have a love and a fire that extends beyond their rehearsal and performance time. The respect they always display manifests in how they treat and trust one another. This family is something we hope they will never lose.
Throughout their time together, they have held onto their fire. Even through the week resembling a major production run, the fire never wavered or threatened to die.
Director, Abigail Nkosi Christmas always says, “It is not about the awards, it is about the journey.” In this case, it is not enough to say that the results speak for themselves. The growth of these young people is immeasurably precious and incomparable to any other result that may happen.
With this production, we bid farewell to four much-beloved matrics: Abigail Nkosi Christmas, Kim Forbay, Branden Mpateni and Francesco Mbele. They have and always will be irreplaceable in our Cultural Department.
The cast and crew of Every year, every day, I am walking delivered real excellence through their ensemble work and we are very proud of their achievements and their growth.
Ms A Hicks