Larger than life

2010-06-04 11:05

The world is coming to South Africa this month. Or rather, it has

already been here since April, when 120 artists from a ­variety of disciplines

converged on the Wits School of the Arts for a six-week residency.

Their mission was to use their varied skills to ­create 32 giant

puppets that will perform a larger-than-life version of Romeo and Juliet, titled The Giant Match,

across the country.

The artists – sculptors, ­painters, costume designers, ­performers,

visual artists, ­builders and puppeteers – are ­finally ready to take their

­creations to the streets.

Creative director Christophe Evette from Les Grande ­Personnes in

France says: “This is visual art that does not appear in galleries.

The other

idea ­behind it is the process of ­collective creation.

It is a team walk; it is

about reclaiming the streets; it’s about street theatre.”

The work involved in this project is all-encompassing.

One floor

below the now defunct revolving restaurant on the corner of Bertha and Jorissen

streets in Braamfontein, the artists have been sculpting, painting, designing

and rehearsing in a double-volume room.

This space accommodates the puppets,

which are a neck-craning 4.5m high.

Although they only weigh 20kg each – it is hard for the ­actors to

learn to manipulate them.

The heads and hands are first sculpted in clay, which

is overlaid with paper mâché, and then the finished head is painted.

Meanwhile,

the mechanical bodies that allow the actors to manipulate their characters are

made in another workshop, while the scriptwriters fashion a story for the two

competing families, and the designers dress the characters.

Artist Sifiso Zimba says: “I think what is interesting is all these

different skills under
one roof.

“I believe that by taking stories from our communities and bringing

them to life, we are making these stories our own.”

Actor Isaac Sithole has been working with gigantic puppets for more

than two years and says that people respond to him differently when he is

controlling the puppets.

He says what he likes about it is that it takes him and

his fellow actors out onto the streets.

In honour of the World Cup, the show will culminate in a ­soccer

match, and the giant ­families will perform at fanparks and at the opening

ceremony.



Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.