Inje- That’s just the way it is

injePhoto courtesy of Gina Schumkler

Melissa Douman

The strange thing about life is that the way that you plan for it is never quite the way that it turns out.
Nor does theatre. Inje, which was meant to be a political satire, became a story about life.
The play took two months to produce by director Gina Schumkler and musical director Louis Zurnamer, who workshopped a musical that was unlike any Wits has ever seen.
Inje, which when translated means ‘just the way it is’, is a play that tells a story about 10 characters. Only the actors do not assume any character new to them- they play the roles of themselves.
Matthew Short, a member in the play, says “Because the script is our own, it is deeply personal.”
They share their stories through poetry, song and monologues. There is a combination of melancholy and hilarity to their stories. It is a clever synchronisation of different tales spoken and sung with common themes like family, genetics and how life just happens.
The characters never quite reveal their whole story. The audience is left hanging and piecing it together themselves. “The effect of this is so that the audience relating to parts of the story can make it their own,” said Claudia van den Berg, a member in the play.
Short says that the first time the husband of one of the cast members came to see the show, he said that it was “like watching T.V. whilst continuously flipping through channels”.
The auditions for the play began before the play was written and entailed that the actors sing two songs. Seven drama and three music students were selected to perform, each with a beautiful voice, very different from each other and yet able to harmonise well.
Short explains the process that followed after the auditions. He says that they had no scripts. They attended workshops and started bouncing their ideas around. They wrote monologues that at times were about very personal experiences and shared them in the sessions. They would laugh and sometimes they would cry in these “therapy groups”.
The beautiful thing about the play is that it has “realness” to it. The characters are real people sharing themselves. Actor Lesedi Job said that she didn’t really feel exposed to audiences. “I think it is nice to tell a story about yourself. Life experiences are universal and someone will identify with something that you share. So I didn’t feel exposed sharing my stories because though I shared that I had an experience I didn’t say how, when and where it happened. But what you share is enough for people to relate to and empathise or laugh about.”
The play ends this Saturday — enough time to see it and squueze in the rugby.

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