Creativity at work at The Centre for the Less Good Idea

 

 

Work. What is it all for? Who reaps the rewards? Who claims our victories, what does it turns us into? It is these questions that season six at the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Maboneng attempts to probe in theatre form: “What does work look like on the stage, in a gallery space, on the streets, in our homes? What is to be said about the journeys we take in order to arrive at these places of work…?”

On Thursday night, co-curators Thiresh Govender and Sello Pesa presented these questions in the form of three interrelated shows: Pause by Kieron Jina, Unchini Wena! by Michael Micca Manganye and a joint performance by the Walls of Tools Ensemble, which included Napo Masheane, Andiswa Mpinda, Faniswa Yisa and Princess Tshabangu

Combining movement, costume, sound sculpture and dance — both his own and ritual dances projected through screens — Jina looked at ideas of worth, oppression, ancestry, colonialisation, sexuality, labour and liberation. This was dance as spiritual and sociopolitical time travel, with his costume — a bulbous ensemble made of Seanamarena (with butcher’s boots at his feet), providing a strong metaphorical thrust for the ideas he sought to convey. Over all this, Jina interlaced projected text with amplified voices, combining the two to create a multisensory examination of the toll of the migrant labour system, slavery and its contemporary equivalents as seen through the lenses of the current economic system. “Why are you working harder than your grandparents who broke their body to give you life?” was just one burning question we were left to ponder. Jina had a long list of contributors to the work, including Negiste Yesside Johnson (video), Yogin Sullaphen (sound design), Roman Handt (costume design) and Kgosi Motsoane (text).

In Unchini Wena!, Michael Micca Manganye used minimal tools — a trio of drums, pieces of cloth and his body — to tell a dynamic biographical tale, one starting with the loss of childhood innocence and ending with the burial of his parents. It seemed to speak to questions of “what the work turns us into” and expanded the idea of “journeys we take in order to arrive at these places of work” into something broader than the suggestion of a daily commute.

In the second session, the Wall of Tools ensemble seemed to bring the inseparable tensions between work, survival, exploitation, existence, spirituality, community, individualism and independence to a head, via a cacophonous chorus of noises that mimicked the constant buzz of the city and the subconscious anxieties of its inhabitants. The pressure built, with hustlers hustling, performers bracing and fumbling for their 15 minutes of shine, preachers shouting admonishments into the ether, butchers hacking away at a piece of bread, a boxer perhaps chasing his shadow and a chorus of “viiiiimba!” finding its own feet among bodies shuffling in hessian sacks. It ticked, tocked in arrhythmic confusion, then “bang!” — an extinction events of sorts.


Season six brings together the dramaturgical and directorial talents of Nhlanhla Mahlangu, Phala Ookeditse Phala, William Kentridge (the centre’s founder), Bronwyn lace and many more contributors. It runs until Sunday October 27.

For more information, visit The Centre for the Less Good Idea

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Kwanele Sosibo
Kwanele Sosibo
Kwanele Sosibo is the editor of Friday, the arts and culture section of the Mail and Guardian.

Related stories

Institutions of higher learning should commemorate their casualties

The bust of Matikweni Nkuna at Tshwane University of Technology is an example of how we should honour those who fought for equal access to education

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — that may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast.

Deconstructing South Africa’s construction industry performance

The construction industry has contracted sharply, partly due to Covid, and needs to rebalance its focus if it wants to survive

Editorial: SA will be bankrupted by looters

The chickens have finally come home to roost: if we do not end the looting, it will end us

Zuma vs Ramaphosa? Neither is the leader South Africans deserve

Neither statesman could command sufficient authority in an ANC that remains mired in corruption and infighting and at the behest of big capital

E-payments for the unbanked are booming

The pandemic is providing mobile phone network operators with a unique chance to partner with fintech firms and banks to deliver clever e-commerce solutions to the informal sector in Africa
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Baby Awa: The miracle baby born on a boat fleeing...

More than 300 000 people in the north of the country have been displaced by militants who ransack villages and then burn them down.

Five suspects arrested in Senzo Meyiwa case

Police minister Bheki Cela announced on Monday that his team has arrested five suspects who were allegedly involved in the killing of former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa.

EFF eyes municipalities ahead of 2021 local government elections

EFF leader Julius Malema says the party is preparing to govern in many municipalities from next year. It is also launching a programme to defend the rights of farm workers

WSU suspends classes and exams to avoid the spread of...

The university says it has to take the precautionary measures because 26 students have tested positive on its East London campus
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday