Play tackles real teen issues

Adam Lennox is taking part in Sainthood.

Former Edgemead High School pupil, Adam Lennox, is one of the cast of five young actors in the Standard Bank Ovation award-winning production, Sainthood, which runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from Wednesday February 6 to Saturday February 23.

The play, written and directed by Tiisetso Mashifane, interrogates all-boys school culture and looks at issues such as hyper-masculinity, bullying and the impact a school system can have on a teenager’s mental health.

Adam, 23, is currently waiting to graduate (officially in April), after completing his BA degree in Theatre and Performance from the University of Cape Town.

It was at Edgemead High School that he was first introduced to theatre and drama. He loved school, unlike his 18-year-old character George in the play, who is angry, scared and, in order to survive the toxic environment at the fictional school in the story, builds a wall of protection around himself.

“George, like so many kids of that age, has not dealt with these issues,” explains Adam about his character. “The culture at St Gabriels (the fictional school he attends) doesn’t allow for that at all, in fact, such matters are swept under the carpet. This, in turn, only exacerbates matters. So instead, he lashes out in other ways – and that is precisely the culture that we are trying to expose in Sainthood.

He is a classic example and a manifestation of what happens when you don’t confront things,” says Adam.

“The play deals with a myriad of other issues which are top of mind for high school learners such as sexuality, race, patriarchy and young love (the excitement and the danger of it). These issues are not necessarily exclusive to private same-sex institutions, it is present at co-ed schools as well. It’s that mob mentality.”

Adam believes that school is such an integral part of young people’s lives and can also be such a damaging part of their lives. “It is important for parents to engage with their children and ask them how they are, daily. Often that trauma is never discussed, as it is in the play, so it is cathartic for perpetrators and survivors to be able to meet in a space which will hopefully open the path to discussion and healing.”

The actor decided that theatre was his vocation when he performed in his school’s production of The Little Shop of Horrors at the Baxter in 2013. He has since then featured in international ad campaigns for Nintendo, Adidas and Coca Cola.

At university some of his selected roles included playing Father San Michel in Lilies, and The First Sister in Lorca’s Yerma, both directed by Geoffrey Hyland.

Adam is the eldest of three children and he is grateful to his teachers and family who have always been supportive and encouraged him throughout his life so far.

Booking for Sainthood is through Webtickets or Pick n Pay stores and tickets are R50 for pupils, students and senior citizens, or R70 to R100.