After months of blood, sweat and tears, the cast of VOC’s The Unwanted Guest pulled off their first ever theatre production on Saturday night without a hitch. Behind the scenes, the novice stage actors and actresses were anxious and stressed before the big night, but when it finally came down to pulling the curtains, things went seamlessly. The production, held at the Baxter Theatre, was a highly charged performance with a diverse and dynamic cast and the perfect balance of Cape Muslim humour and drama. The show had the 500 strong-crowd in stitches throughout the show, with a few tender, heartfelt moments in between.
The story focuses on the daily shenanigans of a dysfunctional Muslim family and the spanner thrown in the works when their highly-critical mother and grandmother “Ma’ arrives unexpectedly and decides to stay for a few weeks. What ensues are a few days of dramatic encounters between the mother of the house, Gairo and her mother-in-law. The comical, sweet but rather spineless husband Yusuf is torn between pleasing both his beloved wife and overbearing mother. Add three rebellious and self-absorbed teenagers to the mix, as well as Gairo’s fiercely supportive and ‘take charge’ mother Oumi, and you have a recipe for a comedic success.
“Everything was amazing, the cast was amazing,” said one audience member after the show.
“The show was absolutely hilarious. Over the top sometimes, but a laugh-a-minute,” said Shafieka Salie.
“I was very surprised at the ability of the cast. They were phenomenal, and I wish there is a sequel!” added Aunty Farieda Jones.
On Saturday evening, there was a heavy sigh of relief that it was all over. The cast had put in extra hours after work and weekends to rehearse their lines and carry out their parts on the stage.
Wiedaad Petersen, who played the character of Gairo, said some of the scenes were so hilarious that she herself had struggled to contain her laughter on stage.
“I was just happy that the audience laughed with me, and there wasn’t ‘dead air’”.
“We were all very nervous beforehand, because we had not done anything like this before. But we were very comfortable after it was all done,” said Fadia Abrahams, who played the central character of ‘Ma’, the mother-in-law everyone loves to hate.
Jasmina Petersen, who played heavily pregnant Jameela, said there was a constant support structure within the entire team.
“Everyone was always supportive throughout the process. It was wonderful to see,” she said.
She added: “It was an amazing experience to be on stage and see all those people come out to watch us. I didn’t even care about the baby bump and the extra boobs that I had to wear, I just had a good time.”
VOC staff had only praise for their colleagues, after having witnessed the hard work put in over the past few months.
“It was amazing considering it was a first time performance. Five star production!” said Drivetime presenter Shafiq Morton.
“I’m in complete awe. Who knew we had that sort of talent?” added producer Ibrahim Chibwe.
Fasiegh Petersen agrees: “This again proves the exceptional talent in our community. The play demonstrates how our listeners connect with the kind of stories within the Cape Muslim community and its characters. It was an authentic experience.”
Petersen said the smooth delivery of the production is testimony to all the hard work put in behind the scenes.
“We are happy our colleagues are getting the recognition they deserve, Alhamdullilah.”
Nazeem Petersen, who has been at VOC since its inception, said he is “proud of the cast”, and that it is “an unprecedented event for the radio station.”
The cast have been asked about a possible sequel or re-run, but are tight-lipped at this stage. VOC