Young actors will be dressing up as superheroes and other colourful characters to teach preschool children some important lessons.
Our Voices Count, a 40-minute production by the Bridgetown Theatre Company will do the rounds at Athlone preschools, from Monday March 1 to Friday March 19. Performed in Afrikaans, English or Xhosa, the three-act play covers child safety, colours, manners, healthy eating, stranger danger, shapes, the seasons, occupations and more.
A policeman, a nurse, a fireman, a lion, a bunny, a bear, Barney, Batman and Superman are just some of the characters who make an appearance.
The play ends with the message that no one is stupid and everyone is special says, Jesse Frankson, who plays Batman.
The messages are easy for children to grasp and take home to their families and friends, says Lisa Williams, who plays a “fun teacher”. There will be a question-and-answer session at the end of each production.
The actors have been rehearsing since Monday February 15 at the Bridgetown High School.
Thembalethu Zwele, who plays Superman, says they surveyed children about issues they felt affected them most as well as their favourite Disney characters before putting the production together.
“We cover things like fires which happen all the time in South Africa, mostly because of a child playing with a lighter, or a careless parent not putting out their cigarette properly, or a child being inquisitive, wanting to also see how matches work because mom and dad do it.
“Pivotal issues, such as rape and murder, which happen every day, are what we cover through our safety scene. We play songs that they love and dances that they like.”
Candice Consani, who appears as Wonder Woman, says the play shows children how their actions have consequences.
“They will see that this is what will happen if I do this, so don’t do that,” she says. “What they see is what they will learn.”