Preview: The Shell Singer, raw nerved work reveals the psychosis of a shattered being, presented by Cape Town’s Marianna Productions

The Shell Singer

What: Solo performance, featuring Imke du Toit
Production company: Marianna Productions
Venue: Galloway Theatre
Date: May 25-28, 2022
Time: 8pm
Tickets: R120 (general) and R80 student with a valid student card)
Bookings: Through TIXSA
Direct booking link:  
#womeninthearts #supportlocal #onewomanshow #rawtheatre #southafricanactress #mariannaproductions    

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It is wonderful to see independent theatre companies, staging new South African work. Marianna Productions is presenting, The Shell Singer, at the Galloway Theatre (Waterfront Theatre School), from May 25-28, 2022, starring Imke du Toit. Marianna Productions, is a new production house, established in 2017, by visionary playwright/director Marianna le Roux. She is passionate about tackling uncomfortable topics and engaging with themes of “brokenness”. The company is self-funded by Le Roux and in addition to theatre, it is platform, “for various art forms”- including visually based imagery. Read on for more:

Inspiration behind Marianna Productions

The inspiration behind Marianna’s company, she says is “the willingness for her voice to dare to tell dark and terrifying stories born from the broken psych of women.” Marianna Productions’ “current output for theatre consists of one woman pieces focusing on the psyche of women, using dramatic prose, enlightened and multi-layered text.” The work originates from Marianna’s subconscious. Her content is “deeply personal content about women, far from the political and entertainment platform”. Her themes and messages “touch the inner workings of society, although in an obscure manner.”

Marianna Productions – works

To date, as of April 2022, the Cape Town production company has produced three one-woman theatre pieces: The Reed Player, Daughter and The Shell Singer. The Shell Singer will be staged at The Galloway Theatre, from May 25-28, 2022 and stars Imke du Toit. It was staged in 2021 at Theatre Arts. Marianna Productions is also a platform for other forms of expression. Seasons of a Soul is the first Movement Theatre Piece to be produced by the company and is scheduled to premiere in 2023. Follow Marianna Productions on Instagram and check out the diversity of work and creativity, emanating from the company,

Current Production: The Shell Singer

The Shell Singer, premiered at Theatre Arts in 2021 and is returning to the stage from May 25-28, 2022, at the Galloway Theatre. “The core of this one woman piece explodes from a scream and poses: “Where are you?!” Marianna describes Shell Singer as an “openly raw nerved work”, which “reveals the psychosis of a shattered being. Denied the primal need to belong, her broken heart births a shell. She uses its colours and sounds to re- create sweet and terrifying memories of the womb, and takes the audience on this bitter journey.”  Regarding the genesis of The Shell Singer, she reflects: “The Shell Singer was birthed from a personal experience.  It is the same for all my other theatre work.  In order for the work to be authentic I remove myself as a person/personality during the writing process and never write with a specific actress in mind. That will change the voice of the play.”

Writing for and around women

What prompted Marianna le Roux to go on a journey, creating and producing work which is confrontational and raw? She says:  “At the turn of this century, horrors pertaining my own life came to light and the brokenness of earlier years could be explained.  This dark journey of discovery covered almost 15 years during which a deep passion for the fate of women was born.  Drawing from my own experiences and beliefs, I began to write furiously for and around women.  One-woman theatre pieces suit the intimacy around each character. Brokenness takes on many forms and I use multi- layered prose to pour various types of madness into my characters.”  

The Shell Singer- creative credits

Production company: Marianna Productions – Instagram  
Writer/director: Marianna le Roux
Starring: Imke du Toit – Instagram @imke_du_toit
Lighting and sound: Keandri van Wyk -Instagram @keandrivanwyk  

About Marianna le Roux  

In addition to heading up Marianna Productions, Marianna le Roux works at the Waterfront Theatre School as a part time ballet pianist for the classical ballet department.   Le Roux completed a four year practical drama course at the Academy for Dramatic Arts under Babs Laker and Shirley van Jaarsveld.  Robert Mohr and Suzanne van Wyk were the final year examiners and awarded her with a distinction.  After her studies, she taught at the Academy and directed and acted for stage for their resident intimate theatre, Die Kamer.  In the 1980s, she worked on productions at The National Arts Festival (formerly in Grahamstown, now Makhanda). Le Roux is a self -taught visual artist. That journey began in 2010. Most of her oil paintings are portraits of women. She explains:  “To gain technical knowledge, for two years, I attended classes in oil painting.”  The “minimalistic drawings “on the Instagram page Marianna Productions, are she says “a favourite personal outlet.” See and get a glimpse of her artistry.

About Imke du Toit  

Imke du Toit is an actress; dancer, voice artist and director based in Cape Town and is represented by the Authentik agency. She graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in theatre and performance, specialising in acting. Her stage credits include, playing Milly Jenkins in an adaptation of Athol Fugard’s People are Living There, (Hungry Minds Theatre, 2015), Vern Shultz in 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche (MishMash Media, 2018) and two one-woman shows,  Daughter (2019) and The Shell Singer (2021)directed by Marianna le Roux from Marianna Productions. Du Toit is CEO and creative director at The Rainbow Academy –the non-profit Academy of Performing Arts and Business, in Cape Town.

About Keandri van Wyk

Lighting and sound designer, Keandri van Wyk has extensive experience in musical theatre and has worked in multiple spheres of theatre making.  Her credits include:  

Agulhasvlakte – Kanya Viljoen & Herschelle Benjamin (Assistant Stage Manager, 2022),KKNK; Suid-Ooster Fees and Potch Piccolo Fees
Eurydice – Unusual Bones (stage manager and sound, 2022) 
Starlight Classics – R&B Bank (assistant stage manager, 2022) 
Mephisto – LAMTA (stage manager, 2021) 
The Producers – Pieter Toerien Productions (wardrobe dresser, 2019)       

Creative visionary: Multi talented, playwright/director Marianna le Roux, heads up Marianna Productions, established in 2017. Supplied.
Solo: Imke du Toit stars in the The Shell Singer, written and directed by Marianna le Roux, of Marianna Productions. Supplied.

Psychosis of a shattered being: Imke du Toit in The Shell Singer, presented by Cape Town’s Marianna Productions. Supplied.

❇Sponsored feature. Featured image -Imke du Toit in The Shell Singer, presented by Cape Town’s Marianna Productions. Supplied.