Cont Mhlanga

Is the Byo TV acting industry on the right path?

Langalakhe Mabena
ACTING is a reflection of real life whereby the cast of a production portray past events, present or the future in an artistic manner, and the fact that it is inspired by life means it has to be celebrated. A�

On Tuesday, the Bulawayo acting industry joined the rest of the world in commemoration of the World Theatre day at Matshobana Hall as hosts Bambelela Arts Ensemble presented Raisedon Bayaa��s 2005 production The Naked Truth and Look, Listen and Decide.

The city of Kings and Queens saw seasoned actors, fused with the up and coming breed,A� such as 2018 National Arts Merit AwardsA� best actor Leonard Phiri, Tawanda Mkoma, Nomvelo Behane, Bongelani Ncube, Prince Mangere, Nyarai Ncube, to mention a few, taking to the stage.

Bulawayo is a cultural hub and acting is one major industry the city brags about as it is rich in talent.

Locally, theatre production is the backbone of acting in general with Bulawayo Theatre and Cont Mhlangaa��s Amakhosi Theatre being centres whereA� talented gems like the late Taurai Muswere, Beater Mangethe, Memory Kumbota, Sarah Mpofu, Zenzo Moyo and South African best international acclaimed actor Luthuli Dlamini were groomed.

With the theatre sector seeming to be on a good track, the same cana��t be said about TV production, which involves the production of films, soapies and television series.

The TV production industry or camera acting industry has improved in as far as content and relevance despite lack of production funding, veteran producer Cont Mhlanga who late last year released his television series Esigabeni can testify to that.

a�?Currently the TV production industry is doing well both on technical and acting departments, there are young actors who fuse well when acting with seasoned actors and that is a good thing as it shows that when the old folks retire, the baton will be passed onto the correct and ready hands.

a�?However, we are not competitive among other countries on the production design segment. We can be good in dramaturge, storyline but in production design we are lacking, we dona��t have special make-up designers and costume designers, we dona��t use improved lighting in our productions because ita��s expensive and most producers cana��t afford it,a�? said Mhlanga.

As local productions depend on what Cont terms a�?average value productionsa�?, where a film or series is shot using a low budget and use natural settings which they dona��t modify like the poor setting of Sabuku Varazipi, Cont revealed that the weed could have been removed from the field way back and they had at least two chances to improve the acting industry which they didna��t utilise.

a�?We could have improved the local acting industry through the Culture Fund then currently with Zim Digital. These two work in the same manner which doesna��t help in industry growth, they scatter funds because they want to please everyone who applies for production financial assistance.

a�?If they gave funds to the few selected quality producers to work on high budget productions, we could have been able to compete with other countries as that move will mean that the production will be of high quality,a�? Mhlanga said.

Arts practitioner Raisedon Baya, who last week launched his play comprising upcoming cast titled Fragile at Amphi Theatre gave a different view on what kills Bulawayo actors and producers.

a�?Last year Bulawayo had one TV production titled Sibahle despite Conta��s Esigabeni while in Harare they were funded to do over three productions, that margin destroys Bulawayo acting because ita��s a fact the talent is there but there is no opportunity for producers and actors to tell their story as they dona��t get funds for production,a�? said Baya.

The Queen who has graced both the stage and TV acting Sarah a�?Tashya�? Mpofu gave a different twist to the argument as she believes that TV actors are doing well because most of them like her have a theatre background were the principles of acting are taught.

a�?TV acting locally is doing well because the industry uses actors who have a strong theatre background, the current acting breed is doing exceptionally well,a�? she said.

As the debate still stands, local production movie Mzamo directed by Mthabisi Ndlovu will premiere at the Bulawayo Theatre on 31 March at 4pm.

The film comprises a colourful young cast with lead actors which include Chiko Ruwoko, Nkazimulo Mathosi and Mbongeni Ndlovu.