Swan Song: From Stage to Screen

By: Precious Lesupi

Swan Song, a screenplay, directed by Ilana Cilliers, showcasing the journey of a Tswana woman from Taung with a winged scapula has managed to gracefully jump onto screen from stage, still filled with the raw elements of grief and love.

“We started off in a container and still made it beautiful,” Buhle Ngaba, writer and performer of the show reflects on the journey she has taken with the artwork. Swan Song has proven to be a very resourceful production, since its times in the container, on theatre stages and at arts festivals. One of the reasons the transformation has shown to be even more appealing was how they have had to work with strict dimensions of spaces since its birth.

The close-ups were able to capture the intensity of emotions one could feel from watching the show in theatre, and this part for me made the transition quite meticulous. The research that has gone into the technical elements of the screenplay, such as lighting and sound has worked very well for the creative crew. “I had a great advantage in having a director who was able to carry me through and a team that keeps growing. There’s no finish line for us”, said Ngaba.

‘Swan Song’ – Nicola Pilkington & Buhle Ngaba (teaser)

“I’ve struggled so much about explaining what the production is about because I believe it’s about what you take from it as an audience member,” Ngaba said. Essentially, the writer and performer has had to understand that for her, the screenplay is about grief, a way for her to release and give herself permission to cry and open it all up.

Swan Song will be showing online at the National Arts Festival until July 16th, Buy tickets here https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/swan-song/

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