The Tides in Me(dea)

Physical theatre
Written and Devised by Cast with the help of Kanya VILJOEN | Performed by Hope BANDA, Lutho BOOI, Olwethu KUNENE, Lebohang MATSIMELA, Thando MYEZA, Olwethu NTANJANA-MAPISA, Deborah-Keir PAULSEN, Nicole SMITH | Projections by Grace LORENZO | Lighting by Kanya VILJOEN | Costumes and Set by Cast & CTDPS
PG 14+ mature content

'I am Medea, I am alone and this place is a grave'

Heartbroken and stricken with grief, Medea, sits begging and praying to her mother to release her from the pain she has experiences living in South Africa.

Workshopped by UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies alumni, and directed by the multi-award winning, Kanya Viljoen, and now facilitated by Mbongeni Mtshali; this contemporary reimagining of Euripides’ powerful Greek tragedy, asks where South African women's anger sits and why it keeps haunting us.

This production started as a collaborative task between the 2nd year actors, theatre makers, and scenographers of UCT CTDPS in the year 2021. We were split into 4 different groups, with two being from the theatre side and the other two groups comprising of dancers and choreographers. The idea was to see how well we worked with each other in adapting a Greek Tragedy, Medea. All four groups had very different interpretations of this play, and ours became what we now call The Tides in Me(dea). We started off as 11 cast members, and with the guidance of Kanya Viljoen, we wrote the script little by little while she compiled our writings in a coherent way until we finally had a script. We workshopped everything and we created a solid play.

In 2022, we approached Kanya, wanting to take the production to NAF, and she happily agreed because she also felt that this was a powerful piece that deserved to be seen outside of UCT. We entered for 2023 but unfortunately did not get into the festival, which was a discouragement to some. Many of our cast members moved on, and we were joined by new members until we downsized to 7 cast members. Kanya recently left for Germany, which, in many ways, dampened our desire to continue, but we have asked Mbongeni Mtshali to step in and be an external eye.

At the heart of this show is a piece that forces us to ask ourselves questions about womanhood in South Africa from different perspectives. It is driven by the rage that these women feel towards the powers that be and their lack of action in what is happening to them in this country. It takes lived and imagined experiences and brings them together masterfully but leaves you wondering which stories are imagined because they are all plausible as a woman living in South Africa. In the end, you are left with the knowledge that, at base level, we are all Medea.


Deborah-Keir Paulsen is an Afrikaans country girl from the outskirts of the dry Bolan in South Africa. Her passion for storytelling has led her to the vibrant city of Cape Town. She recently completed her training in theatre and performance at the University of Cape Twon with a specialization in Acting. As part of her practice, she aspires to explore the notions around a conventional South African society. With her new found appreciation for writing, Deborah-Keir aspires to pursue the film industry.

Hope Banda is an actor, singer and digital performance art maker who hails from a small town in Limpopo called Northam. She graduated from the University of Cape Town with Honours in Theatre and Performance. Before UCT, she spent two years as a student and freelance artist in The South African State Theatre and was also part of the State Theatre Youth Choir. She has been in productions such as, The Crucible, White Noise, Reën Bloed Nasie, Conversations with my Mother, The Tides in Me(dea), Ezemiphefumlo, The Trials and many others. Her interests as a performance maker lies in the use of poetic language and music to bring stories to life.

Lebohang Matsimela is a Theatre and Performance graduate from the University of Cape Town. Her current interest is in exploring the South African landscape in theatre and film production. She recently directed and wrote her debut production, ‘The Women’. As a thespian, Lebohang believes she fulfils her purpose through her craft, showcasing a deep passion for storytelling and a commitment to authentic narratives.

Lidian Plaatjies is a mixed-race legacy project, who is determined to choreograph her own story. She has most recently finished her BA Honours degree in Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town, majoring in Performance Making; choreography. Despite this, Lidian believes that she is an all-round creative, as she is passionate to communicate the beauty of life, as well as its tribulations through various art forms. She is a very eager, a fast leaner, and someone who is valuable in all creative environments.

Lutho Booi is a Cape Town based Scenographer/Performance maker & actor who began his journey in the world of performing arts as an actor, where he found passion for storytelling, embodying different characters and the magic of the stage. However as someone who has always been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes aspect of theatre, when the opportunity to explore Scenography as a study and career choice was presented to him, he did not hesitate to take it. Through a hands-on experience and a dedicated study, he immersed himself into the art of transforming spaces and creating immersive environments that breathe life into stories. The blend of his skills as an actor and Scenographer allows him not only to perform on the stage but also be a part of creating the worlds in which these performances come to life. He enjoys pushing the boundaries of creativity and storytelling through performance and performance making. He’s performed in a number of productions which include Like Lambs To The Slaughter by Freddy Nyezi, One Two Many by Olwethu Ntanjana, Mike Galeboe, Cassidy Phillips and himself, etc.

Nicole Smith is a recent graduate from the University of Cape Town who studied a BA in Theatre and Performance, within the acting stream. Nicole has taken part in productions such as A Midsummer Night Dream Adaptation,  The Tides in Me, Ezemiphefumlo…of the souls, Everybody Else (is F*!king Perfect), White Noise and The Trials. Nicole aspires to be a stage and film actress, with the possibility of teaching someday, but right now she aspires to experience and learn all sectors of the performing arts, to engage in theatre life as a whole. She entered the world of acting as “just” an actress, but she feels that her talents have extended too more than just a singular skill set. She is a performer, who has dabbled in physical performance, singing, writing, dance, performance making and workshop

Olwethu Ntanjana-Mapisa is a UCT alumnus who studied Theatre and Performance, majoring in Theatre-Making. As an upcoming maker and performer, she enjoys writing and bringing a work to life behind the scenes, but there's a special place in her heart for performance. Her other interests include visual arts, film, hair and makeup. Her goal is to acquire as many skills as she can to look back and see that she's used up all of her potential.

My name is Olwethu Kunene aka theeblacksheep, a Zulu girl from KwaZulu Natal with aspirations of exploring all facets of the performing arts. I am a BA(Hons) graduate who studied Theatre and Performance at University of Cape Town(2020-2024) and I majored in Acting. I have been involved in multiple productions in the CTDPS, I have done soundscapes for productions such as Chuma Sopotela’s Conversations with My Mother (2022), I have taught myself to produce music — @theeblacksheep on SoundCloud, I have also explored movement and choreography through being in pieces such as Ezimphefumlo(2022) directed by Mandla Mbothwe, Chuma Sopotela, Zimbini Makwethu and Sibonelo Dance Project and Senescence(2023) choreographed by Lexi Herz. I have an interest in exploring film and television in particular presenting and look forward to evolving more in my craft through experience. I am thankful for the exposure throughout my studies and for my lecturers. It’s time to carve my own path to success with the assistance of all the lessons I have learnt up till now.

Thando Myeza is a 23-year-old South African male actor, born and raised in the Midlands, Kwa-Zulu Natal. He holds a BA in Theatre and Performance from the University of Cape Town. Thando is a classically trained tenor vocalist with a background in choral music and percussion through ABRSM. He is both a film and theatre performer and is currently represented by Pursch Artistes in Cape Town.