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  • Liesl Frankson

10 Questions With Sylvaine Strike

Booking is now open for the modern classic, Marcel Puig’s extraordinary play, Kiss of the Spider Woman, running at The Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 5 to 19 June 2021. Mosadi Online caught up with multi-award winning director Sylvaine Strike about the play.


Multi-award winning director Sylvaine Strike. Photo: Oscar O’Ryan
Multi-award winning director Sylvaine Strike. Photo: Oscar O’Ryan

What sort of person is going to love this show?

People hungry for theatre will love this show, it ticks all the right boxes: from romance, revolution, love, and beauty to humour, pathos, glamour, all wrapped up in exquisite storytelling.


What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?

In these days of COVID-19, I feel only blessed to be directing a live show again after such desperate times for our industry, so any challenge was met with pure joy.


Why did you want to be involved in this production?

Kiss of the Spider Woman is a very important and necessary story to tell, it is doubly so now that our global awareness of gender politics is redefining itself. This is a play about the need for closeness, human contact, understanding, and I always want to be part of telling such a story.


Who should not come to see this show?

Those who think they shouldn’t, are probably the ones who should!


What will the audience be thinking about in the car as they drive home after this show?

About our fragility, about our strength as human beings, and our undeniable need for human contact and being understood.


How is this production bringing something new to this story?

It is told in a physical dimension, not just talking heads. The world in the prison shapeshifts and the potential for magic is constantly present, the power of the imagination is summoned, and the audience will transcend confinement through the spells the spider woman weaves.


Call someone out by name: who must come to see this production?

Nathi Mthetwa, the national minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture.


Mbulelo Grootboom, Sylvaine Strike and Wessel Pretorius

Who do you look up to as director?

Lara Foot, Yael Farber, Julie Taymor, and Simon Mc Burney.


When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?

Checking to see if my kids are fine, then thinking about the next scene that I’m about to tackle.


What do you do when you’re not doing theatre?

I dream up my next show...


Kiss of the Spider Woman runs at The Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 5 to 19 June 2021, at 7pm with Saturday matinees at 2pm. Ticket prices range from R125 (Early Bird Special for bookings before April 30), R170 (Mondays to Wednesdays) to R200 (Thursdays to Saturdays). There is an age restriction of 15 years. Booking is through Webtickets or at Pick n Pay stores.


Originally written in Spanish in 1972 by Puig, translated into English by Allan Baker, Kiss of the Spider Woman, has captured the attention of audiences for its romantic drama, political outcry, and postmodern style portrayed through its two characters, Molina and Valentin. It was adapted for the stage in 1983.


The plot follows two cellmates who pass their time in a prison, by remembering and reinventing classics of the silver screen. What at first seems to be a simple and straightforward - if not casual - story of two people who appear to be opposites (the romantic and the revolutionary), instead reveals a story of political intrigue and double-crossing.


Strike directs a stellar cast with Mbulelo Grootboom (Rainbow Scars, Iagos Last Dance, Hamlet) as Valentin and Wessel Pretorius (Ont, Die Ontelbare 48, Balbesit) as Molina, in this journey of self-awareness, intrigue, romance, revolution, love, and betrayal, with lighting design by Mannie Manim, set and costume design by Wolf Britz and music by Brendan Jury.


Author: Liesl Frankson