Lereko Mfono leads a busy and creative life as a playwright, actor, and drama facilitator. The WLPG editorial team found him with a bit of free time and we were able to ask him some questions about his writing.
A bio of Lereko is in our playwrights database is at this link.
WLPG: Was there something in particular that motivated you to start writing for young audiences?
Lereko: I started writing for my peers in high school when I was about 15 or 16, then I had no knowledge of TYA, writing for theatre was merely something I loved and enjoyed doing. When I revisited writing for young audiences again a bit later after my school years, the motivation began to capture the nostalgia of my upbringing, I enjoyed my childhood memories so much that I thought they would be better useful and meaningful in plays and stories.
WLPG: Is there a production, playwright, or theatre company that has been influential on your work?
Lereko: I watched two plays in high school that influenced my prospects as a Playwright, 'Itsoseng' by Omphile Molusi and 'Blood Orange' by Craig Morris. They both carried an immense heart and depth of story. Athol Fugards 'The Blood Knot' was another one.
WLPG: Why is it important to write for children and young people?
Lereko: It is important for all stages of life to be celebrated, talked about, given a perspective and a voice. Writing for children and young people means honouring the most formative years in every human beings life and giving that group an opportunity to be seen and heard and hopefully respected like any other age group.
WLPG: What is your typical writing process?
Lereko: My writing process starts far away from the paper. An idea, a conversation, an observation and then entertaining that which seems to evolve into a story and drafting it down on paper as a story concept. Which I then work into a story, then script.
WLPG: Is there any real difference between writing for young audiences and writing for adult audiences?
Lereko: No difference, except the general somber-loneliness that follows adult scriptwriting
WLPG: Is there something about playwriting for children and young people in your country that is notable?
Lereko: Yes, Assitej SA has taken great strides to stamp their ground as a formidable presence in South African theatre. Few artists don't know about Assitej platforms which have a very particular emphasis on writing development on the area of TYA.
WLPG: Is there a question you would like to ask your fellow playwrights?
Lereko: Yes! For those who write TYA plays solely on instinct as opposed to field research, what do you draw the themes and subject material of your plays from?
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