Two Gents Productions was established in 2007 as we collaborated on Vakomana Vaviri ve Zimbabwe or Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare. We soon realised that we shared enough common artistic ground on which to base a productive and original theatre company. As work continued on Vakomana we found that although we came from different points of view, our efforts to marry Shakespeare with our diverse experiences was bearing fruit. Our individual cultural backgrounds, our experience of migration and our audience-centred, physically engaging yet technically minimalist style all came to bear on the theatrical experience that is Vakomana.
Not only where we able to see the production through a successful run at one of London’s premier fringe venues, the Oval House Theatre; but we were also able to honour invitations to perform at such exciting events as the 10th anniversary Harare International Festival of the Arts; The Market Theatre Laboratory’s 20th anniversary celebrations (in Johannesburg); and the celebrated Shakespeare Festival in Neuss, Germany.
Our work this year continues with a UK-wide tour of Vakomana this autumn and one-off performances of our new play, Magetsi. In 2010 we look to expand our touring, outreach and development activities in the UK, Germany, Zimbabwe and beyond.
As well as being the catalyst that propelled this company into motion, Arne holds the record for having the most job titles in Two Gents Productions; super-producer, script editor, driver, chef and, off course, the main one, DIRECTOR. With regards to the latter, where do we begin but with his influences? Amongst them Shakespeare, Fugard, Barney Simon and, significantly, Peter Brook. Those who have been in his rehearsal room will testify to these influences, but, even rarer still, they will have been struck by his own definite take on a collaborative style which has not only delighted his actors and crew but has resulted in rich and textured work that ranges from the classic (Two Gentlemen of Verona for Two Gents, The Caucasian Chalk Circle for The Actor’s Centre, Johannesburg) to the modern (Beethoven, In Raptus at Artscape, Cape Town and, now, Magetsi for Two Gents) all delivered with a beguiling simplicity.
Denton is a born entertainer. He loves a crowd and riling them up through performance. A clown at heart and an actor by trade he can also belt out a pretty good tune. After all, his influences do include Dolly Parton and the Backstreet Boys. That’s where he learnt that the audience always comes first – one of his most valuable contributions to our work as a company!
Working with Two Gents has allowed him to consolidate years of acting and devising for theatre, especially in relation to Zimbabwean work – King Baabu with Over the Edge, Qabuka with Ben Evans, Zuva Crumbling with Lucian Msamati, and Yours Abundantly, from Zimbabwe with Annie Castledine.
Tonderai Munyevu is an Actor’s Actor, tirelessly devoted to his craft. He throws every bit of his larger than life, flamboyant personality into his performances, yet manages to move audiences with his subtlety. He adds to the company a meticulous rehearsal process, surgical in his preparation. Tonderai studied at the London Centre for Theatre Studies and the National Youth Theatre.
As well as Magetsi, Dzoka! and Vakomana for Two Gents Productions, his acting credits include The Merchant of Venice (Arcola), The Invention of Love and Dark of the Moon. But it was with Your’s Abundantly, from Zimbabwe that he consolidated years of workshoping, readings and devised projects focusing on the plight of Zimbabwean immigrants and those left behind at home. Other work includes Red Dust Rising and Boniface and Me for BBC Radio 4 and, as a voice artist: Nelson’s Dream (Cambridge Press) and Pure Brazil Samba. He continues with his writing debut Kanjani, a poetic meditation on the physical effects of alienation within migrant communities