South Africa is in dire need of a healthy dose of laughter.
Two stylish women, comedian Tumi Morake and actress Vanessa Frost, believe they have the right recipe. And it won’t be too “hairy” in the laughter department.
These two dynamic souls have joined forces to shape a lively slice of theatre which opened at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square on February 25.
Called Tease, this two-hander is set in a suburban hair salon where a potent interchange of ideas takes place and where the various colourful characters deliver comic commentaries on the world at large.
The key characters are Neo and Eve, two close friends who run the salon, which has become a hotbed of skinner and auntie-style therapy.
“Our play uses recognisable South African characters to tell our story,” Morake says. But it is universal in its themes of female sexual awakening and self love.
“It’s an unashamed look at two women at different points of their lives and relationships, finding their way back to themselves. At the centre of it is the importance of communication and unsubscribing from all the shame associated with female sexual pleasure.”
Frost describes their play as “provocative, honest and hilarious with a real heart and a beautifully woven, carefully researched narrative”.
Morake and Frost have never collaborated on a production before, although they spoke about it many times. Morake says: “We met when I was supposed to audition for Vanessa but decided I was too unprepared to put either of us through that mess. We just wanted to have a good time together on stage.”
Frost says: “Tumi and I had been ‘flirting’ with each other for a while, both interested in doing a comedy show together. I heard the story of a hairdresser selling adult toys in the back room and while going for a run on the beach [where most great ideas come from] I contacted Tumi to feel her out on the idea for the premise for a show.
“She was keen and fully on board. We both had the absolute brainwave to bring Jose Domingos in as a director. He agreed only if he could be included as a writer – and thank goodness for that, because he truly is brilliant.
“Tumi and I have become fast friends during this process. We met a few year ago at an audition and decided to work together over a drink one evening … as you do. Over the past three years I feel that we have found a mutual respect for each other, our talents and we always pay homage to the gods of comedy and desire.
“We not only have a great comedic chemistry on and offstage, but as Mother Earth would have it, our cycles also align once we’ve been in each other’s company for more than a week.”
Morake is a busy woman. She is preparing to launch her audio book, And Then Mama Said, and developing two feature film projects.
She will also be hosting the Stand Up Africa stage at the Johannesburg International Comedy Festival from March 14 to 17 and will begin work on a new romantic comedy.