Coming to the Ramolao Makhene Theatre at the Market Theatre Lab this 31 March – 3 April 2022 is the absurdist-grotesque rollercoaster of a performance Becky, Please Turn Off the Lights.
Directed by Roberto Pombo and assistant directed by Dintshitile Mashile, the play is set against the backdrop of a lavish restaurant/club complex and sees three bestest friends let loose, celebrating friendship, good times and #beingblessed. The evening slowly starts to unravel into a harrowing horror show and disaster eventually strikes. Will their tight-knit friendship survive what the evening has in store for them? Or will inevitable doom and destruction separate them forever?
Ahead of the show’s opening this week, we spoke with the three bestest friends, Hayleigh Evans, Denel Honeyball and Lisa Derryn Overy, about Becky, great advice, favourite places and their earliest memories of performance.
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First off, can you tell us about yourselves?
H: My gran just told me I’m a specialist multitasker, and I like that. Although I’d like to think it’s all vaguely in a field. I write/produce/act/facilitate, mostly in live performance spaces.
D: I’m a karoo, bare-foot, dog mom type. In the creative field though I am an actor, voice actor, casting director and production designer.
L: I’m a lover of nature, travel, Lego and Rugby Sevens… a bit of a conundrum. I’m also an actress, theatre maker, facilitator and drama teacher, who dabbles in a bit of comedy writing and directing.
Becky, Please Turn Off the Lights is…
H: a mad ride alongside three wild gals, with a bit of substance underneath it. It is… HILARIOUS and HYSTERICAL.
D: It’s a delicious exploration of the masks we wear and the shadow side beneath (well, for my character at least). It’s fun, it’s flashy and it’s totally revolting.
L: an insane and bizarre adventure which pokes fun at our more sinister characteristics like greed, ignorance, apathy and selfishness, delivered to the audience in a gorgeous glitter and jazz hands spectacle.
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What’s your earliest memory of performance?
H: Once upon a time in primary school, we had an impromptu talent show because no one had prepared an assembly and, for whatever reason, I sang Los Del Rios’ La Bamba (obviously very badly) in front of the whole school. It was no good. I remember feeling very free while doing it though.
D: From a toddler I used to herd my family onto the balcony each evening to watch my performance of Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
L: Apparently, according to my family, I’ve always been a drama queen. But my first memory of being on stage was when I played Israelite No. 11 in my primary school’s rendition of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I was so jealous of the kid who played Joseph… I really wanted to wear that rainbow coat. I still do!
What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment? Any recommendations?
H: Reading: Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens. Not far in yet enough to know if it’s a *recommend, but New York Times says it is. Listening to the whole Promising Young Woman soundtrack on repeat… and it’s a three thumbs up recommend from me.
D: Reading: Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup – I’m always waiting for someone to die in everything I read. Listening: I love female singers with mature sounding voices, so LP and Alabama Shakes. Watching: RuPaul’s Drag Race – you can watch the international ones on World of Wonder.
L: I have just finished Yellowjackets, which was a trip! Highly recommended. And I often reread my collection of Gary Larson’s Far Side series. An easy read…
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
D: Take people at their word.
L: Be kind and save regularly
Which performers are on your radar at the moment?
H: It’s been difficult to keep up with theatre at the moment, but I love following the work and careers of the Kwasha Theatre Company. The company and the company alum are always doing great things and experimenting with theatre making. I love that.
D: From my youth I have been a big fan of Andrew Buckland and Sylvaine Strike and that love affair persists. Then there’s an actress named Dimpho More who I am excited about, she will be at the Market Theatre in Diaparo Tsa Mama which I am looking forward to.
L: All of the above, but while I’m here I may as well punt my hilarious fellow SASS (A South African Sketch Show) collaborators and performers… Toni Morkel, Martin Grendele, Chris Djuma, Clara Vaughan, Rachael Neary, Ncumisa Ndimeni, Phillip Dikotla, Hayleigh Evans and Hira Lodhi.
One of your favourite places in the world?
H: I got quite attached to home the past two years… but I like a beach, not fussy. Basically, my favourite places are where you can just be WOW with nature and not worry about anything else. Ideally this place would allow pets.
D: Barrydale – in the Klein Karoo, I moved there three years ago and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
L: As cliche as it may sound, there really is no place like home, or rather, wherever my family and fur baby is at. If they happen to be on an exotic beach, or on top of a beautiful mountain, or drinking Mojitos in a trendy city somewhere, even better.
What’s next for you, and where can our readers find more of your work?
Next up. Cocktails! JK.
H: Straight after the run we go into pick up rehearsals for An Updated Syllabus for the Woke, a show that I co-wrote and facilitated last year. We’ll be taking the piece to schools and then stage publicly again in May. We are also very easy to find with monthly improv shows at the Lab and at the Bioscope… most of my life is shared on @POPArtJHB on all media 🙂
D: I’m going into Production Design for a new television show once we come off stage. This is the year that I am trying to get my own television content produced, I can feel it in my bones that it is coming. I’m atrocious with keeping up with my social media, but I’m just plain Denel Honeyball on all of it.
L: I am part of the SASS collab (A South African Sketch Show) which is an ongoing collaboration of sketch comedy producers. You can follow @POPArtJHB to view our sketches and find out more. And hopefully there will be another live show in the near future for me. I’m quite new to Insta, so follow me to see if I figure it all out… @lisa.derryn.o
BECKY BOOKING DETAILS:
DATES: 31 March at 18:00, 1 and 2 April at 19:00, and 3 April at 15:00
VENUE: Ramolao Makhene Theatre, Market Lab (Newtown)
TICKETS: R120 and available via Webtickets.