Tumi and Vanessa ‘Tease!’ at the NAF

Tumi Morake and Vanessa Frost - Tease! Photo: Richard Aaron
Tumi Morake and Vanessa Frost – Tease! Photo: Richard Aaron

First Lady of Comedy Tumi Morake and the original ‘Cavewoman’ Vanessa Frost team up in ‘Tease!’ which debuts on the National Lottery Fringe at the NAF.

Set in their suburban hair salon, Tease!, Vanessa and Tumi play best friends Eva and Neo -stylists and ‘therapists’ to many a regular client – offering the audience a glimpse into the familiar world of client-stylist relations: a veritable stream of conversation, ‘skinner’ and agony aunt-style relationship advice. Armed with intimate client knowledge and a growing understanding of what women (and men) want – and need – these intrepid Tease! stylists launch a quiet, backroom business selling toys… of the adult persuasion.

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With a healthy dose of self-deprecating funny and a whole lot of heart, versatile Tumi and Vanessa play all characters – from the elderly Muslim and Jewish women who return weekly to have their hair set and sample new toys, to the liberated sex class instructor and the sanctimonious housewife having a passionate affair with her *ahem* SpeedQueen!

The show is produced by theatre and documentary company Bloom & Stone, who focus on creating meaningful, accessible content (the same team behind MixTape – well received by Festival audiences 2012 to 2014). Vanessa says the meeting of minds in the process has been like synchronicity – with everyone clicking immediately with the idea and one another. She explains that although ‘Tease!’ is an enormous amount of fun, it’s definitely not just a series of gags – that the extensive research which went into the writing of the script meant that they found themselves exploring heartfelt and important things. “Even when you’re dealing with subjects from a comedic perspective, you can’t shy away from the hard truths; and so it’s been about finding the comedy in each of these moments, while exploring the moments that don’t require comedy,” she says. It’s about answering the question we all quietly worry about: ‘Am I normal?’.

Director Jose explains that that this is a story by women, about women; on discovering the “disconnect between what women are thinking they’re feeling, and what their bodies are actually telling them”. He is clear that his role in both writing and directing has been facilitatory, about bringing an outside eye to the process. A seasoned performer himself, his main concern has been maintaining a safe space within which to bring out the best in those on stage, in order to do justice to this taboo but important subject of female desire.

Morake is excited about this chance to flex her acting muscles, in Grahamstown, explaining that “the best fun is on the Fringe – it’s where you really get to see and enjoy the results of your blood and sweat”, and while there may be some surprise pop up performances around town, she’s mostly looking forward to the opportunity to be immersed in the Festival buzz and watch other people’s work.

Written by Jose Domingos, Vanessa Frost and Tumi Morake, ‘Tease!’ will be performed at Masonic Back at the National Arts Festival from 30 June to 9 July 2016, with support from GynaGuard and Lola Montez.

Tickets cost R70 and are available via www.nationalartsfestival.co.za.

For more information see www.teasetheshow.co.za, or follow:
Facebook: teasetheshow / @teasetheshow / GynaGuard
Twitter: #teasetheshow / @tumi_morake / @GynaGuard
Instagram: @tease_theshow / @tumi_morake
Toys sponsored by: Lola Montez (www.lolamontez.co.za)

Show times:
30 June at 20h00, 1 July at 14h00, 2 July at 18h00, 5 July at 20h00, 7 July at 22h00, 8 July at 18h00 and 9 July at 14h00.

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