Dramatic winter warmers

The Market Theatre offers learners a carnival of drama and dance.

THE annual Winter Theatre Carnival at the Market Theatre promises to be a feast of Shakespearean plays and a showcase of local contemporary dance and drama.

Celebrating its second year, the festival is aimed at high school students to popularise theatre as a medium of teaching. The festival runs Mondays to Wednesdays from July 24 to August 23. For R20, students will be able to see three shows presented as a single day of activities. And there will be a question-and-answer session concerning the productions.

On the bill is Ladies and Gentlemen: Shakespeare!, a production comprising extracts from Shakespeare’s best-known plays. It is through this production that leading theatre practitioners like John Kani, Fiona Ramsay and Vanessa Cooke are going to interpret Shakespeare’s work, making them entertaining for students and different from a classroom situation. Cooke directs the piece, and Kani and Ramsay will act out the different roles of lovers, soldiers, clowns and villains.

In Sello Maake ka Ncube’s production Komeng, four characters explore the subject of manhood. Maake ka Ncube introduces us to four old friends and transports us to their childhoods. It is in their reunion that they are haunted by the past and psychologically attempt to redefine manhood.

Maake ka Ncube’s play was inspired by his experience working with Adapt, an NGO that deals with domestic violence in Alexandra township. During the drama workshops with victims of violence, he shared views with young men who wanted to rehabilitate themselves. Maake ka Ncube’s interest was to explore the nature of men as victims and perpetrators of violence. ”Growing up as a black child, I’ve always been told that men do not cry — and that is false statement because men do cry. Men have for so long hidden behind the mask of manhood and have not understood what it is to be a man. It is a psychological thing, that each man needs to be introspective, to look at himself.” It is in Komeng that we see four men breaking up and crying as they reflect on the past.

Robyn Orlin’s Daddy explores politics in the arts in terms of performance empowerment and ownership of space. Six performers fight over the same space while they wait for their director to arrive for a performance. The performers wait in panic five minutes before the show, but the director has not arrived. Their waiting becomes the background against which a collage of dances are set. Some of these dances are choreographed by Toni Morkel and Nelisiwe Xaba. Director Robyn Orlin speaks enthusiastically about her production: ”It’s a piece about love, whatever that is — and a group of people who just can’t get a show together no matter how hard they try.”

The production came third in the African and Indian Ocean Choreographic Competition held in Madagascar last year. It also won a prestigious Jan Fabre Award at the Bagnolet Choreographic Society in France for being an innovative piece.

The Winter Theatre Carnival runs at the Market Theatre from July 24 until August 23

— The Teacher/Mail & Guardian, August 10, 2000.

 

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Luvuyo Kakaza
Guest Author

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