Q&A with Ameera Conrad

Ameera Conrad, recent UCT graduate, has written and directed a play, entitled Reparation, which examines the post-Apartheid-Apartheid South Africa, and begs the question: How will the debt of Apartheid be repaid?

Q1: What inspired you to write this play?

I was invited to write a 20 minute scene for Anthology – a program in which three writers write a scene to be performed by two actors, and directed by one director. The theme for the series was Young Bloods, and I figured I’d either write about periods or about politics. At the time I was also preparing to work on developing The Fall for the Baxter, so I found myself sitting in a very political state of mind. Although to be honest, I’m almost always in a political state of mind. So, in February of this year I wrote the first version of Reparation. It was so amazing to see the reception from the audience that I decided that I wanted to turn it into a full length play. I got advice from various theatre makers and after a few months of tinkering I came to a project that I am very excited about. The desire to write it really stemmed from my own fears and also excitement about the future of our country and how my generation is going to shape the country in the next few years. I wanted to show people what could be coming just around the corner.

Q2: As an actor yourself, what approach do you take to directing?

I think my approach to directing is a very open one. As an actor I like to work with directors who give me a lot of leeway and space to play and interpret before making a solid decision; I like to make bold choices and see where they take me. And I think as a director that’s the most important thing to me too; allowing actors the space to take ownership of the work themselves. My primary focus as a director is on human interactions so no matter how ridiculous or far-out the play may be, at the end of the day it’s about people and relationships.

Q3: Who is your target audience for this show?

I think my major target audience is kind of anyone who wants to talk about politics, but doesn’t necessarily have a starting point. What’s difficult about this play is that it asks something of everyone, in a sense. It’s a question to radicals of “is this what we want? Is this the next step?” And it also says to liberals “if we don’t become more radical in our efforts to fix the problems, then this could be where we end up”. I’m hoping lots of people will come to see it, but it’s a play for all politically-aware people.

To book your tickets to see Ameera’s work, email artsadmin@mweb.co.za.

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