Perfect Works perfects theatre
IT all started sometime in 2004, in the dusty streets of Gweru’s largest high density suburb Mkoba, when a bunch of six high school students were brought together by one Champaign Nyengera to form a theatre
group which they named Perfect Works.
Little did Nyengera and his six protégés know that at some point, 10 years or so down the line, their group would be the most sought after theatre group in the Midlands province.
At the time of the group’s formation all its members, namely Tanyaradzwa Gudhe, Alois Madzikura, Evidence Machiva, Batsirai Mlambo and Leonard Tichareva were still in high school at various schools in Gweru.
Some were at Chaplin High School, some at Matinunura High School in Mkoba while some were at Mkoba Three High School, but creativity and an undying passion for the arts was the common denominator which brought them together to pursue their talents.
When these youth teamed up at Nyengera’s initiation, very few people gave them a chance and some even went to the extent of ridiculing them for choosing a career mostly famed for lacking financial rewards.
But perseverance, hard work and determination saw the six soldiering on in face of criticism and ridicule. In 2006 when the six had completed their high school studies, Nyengera
weaned them and set them free to explore the world and that is when their professional theatre journey began in earnest.
Perfect Arts artistic director Leonard Tichareva told Sunday Leisure, “After we had completed our studies we then decided to take arts seriously. Most of us had a drama background as we were part of drama clubs at our respective schools.
“We started dramatising O-level Shona set books and we would be invited in schools to perform. The idea to dramatise setbooks was to help candidates interpret some of the complex issues articulated in the novels. This went on well and we started enjoying a bit of fame especially in school,” he said.
In 2009 Perfect Works decided to diversify their acts and ventured into dance. That is when their stock started to rise in a phenomenal way. Since then Perfect Works have been invited to perform at corporate functions, schools and for NGOs during various campaigns.
Tichareva reckons patience, resilience and hard work has started paying off for the group.
“We are indeed earning a living from art. We are able to pay rent, buy food, fend for our families through what we do. I think the secret to our success is hard work and a spirit of not giving up. If we had given up when people ridiculed us I’m sure we wouldn’t be enjoying the fruits of our talents,” he said.
Perfect Works’ rare gift to mix drama, humour and dance in their performances has seen them earning recognition in the Midlands province and areas beyond the province’s borders.
That has put them a notch above most dance and drama groups in the country, and places them on a pedestal to take over the country’s theatre stage.
It is only a matter of time before Perfect Works hogs the limelight to take over the national dance scene. One of Perfect Works’ popular acts that has become a favourite of many is one in which they use various songs by different artistes to tell a story of infidelity.
The story opens up with Winky D’s song “Controversy” and Perfect Works dramatise the song, with one of the group members acting as the man who bumps into his girlfriend with another man. Just as the jilted man bumps into the two love birds, the song switches to Sniper and Extra Large’s “Aiwa Mukoma” as the aggrieved boyfriend starts to interrogate his girlfriend’s lover.
Just as that song ends, the act gathers tempo and goes a gear up into John Chibadura’s “Mukadzi Wamakandiroorera”. During this song the jilted lover starts to complain to relatives on his wife’s infidelity.
The act paces down into “Tracey Chapman’s Babe Can I Hold You”, as the cheating lover starts to beg for forgiveness, but the jilted boyfriend would not have any of it, as he replies with Dolly Parton’s “It’s Too Late To Love Me Now”.
Such is the creativity that drives Perfect Arts and keeps the group going as they surge ahead towards their target of taking over the country dance scene and become one of the most sought after dance groups in the country.
Perfect Works look forward to recruiting more artistes into their group as they endeavour to take over the country’s dance and theatre industry.
“We are looking at assembling a band as well as recruiting more members into our group. The idea is to spice up our acts a bit as we try to adapt to the ever evolving world of the arts.
“The moment we have more artistes it will enable us to fulfil two or three shows in case we have a number of bookings in one weekend. We want to operate more like Iyasa as well as create a platform for other talented artistes to showcase their talents,” said Tichareva.
Perfect Works are putting Gweru on the national map in as far as dance and theatre is concerned.