The 10 best?.?.?. discussions of the National Arts Festival’s finest works

2013-06-23 14:00

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This year at the National Arts Festival, Charl Blignaut, Gayle Edmunds and Percy Mabandu will be hosting discussions of the main programme’s most provocative and innovative works. Join us for the conversation

1 My Name is Rachel Corrie is a monologue based on the diaries and emails of Rachel Corrie, an American student who was killed by an Israeli tank while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian house on the Gaza Strip.

The responses to it since Alan Rickman (better known as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films) first edited it for stage, have been robust from

both sides of the conflict. The discussion with director Jacqueline Dommisse and Kate Liquorish promises to be a cracker.

»?June 27 at 8.30pm, Rhodes Box

2 The Zulu is controversial theatre maker Mbongeni Ngema’s latest piece.

The man behind productions such as Asinamali and Sarafina! and more recently Sarafina! 2, goes back to his childhood to bring audiences the stories his great-grandmother, Mkutshana, told him while he was growing up in the heart of Zululand.

The stories stretch back in time to the forming of the Zulu nation and to the bloody battle of Isandlwana as well as into the more recent apartheid past.

»?June 28 at 2pm, Rhodes Theatre

3 Exit/Exist is a superb piece of dance from accomplished choreographer and performer Gregory Maqoma.

In this haunting piece that debuted at last year’s Dance Umbrella at The Market theatre, Maqoma tells his family history through the story of the heroic Chief Maqoma in the Eastern Cape.

Set to new music composed by Simphiwe Dana, this is an evocative piece of dance that is about celebrating the past and embracing a new future forged from it.

»?June 30 at 11am, Transnet Great Hall

The Island

4 The Island, perhaps the most famous of the struggle theatre pieces written by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona, was first performed 40 years ago.

The most intriguing question is: in a different time, what is the relevance of such a piece set so particularly in a place in history?

With Kani in the director’s chair and his Naledi Award-winning son Atandwa, on stage with another bright young star of the theatre, Nat Ramabulana, this promises to be a treat and its place on our cultural landscape is secured once more.

»?July 1 at 11am, Rhodes Theatre

5 Cadre, which is also part of The Market theatre showcase at this year’s festival, is written, directed and performed by Omphile Molusi, the award-winning theatre maker behind Itsoseng.

Molusi is at the forefront of new struggle theatre.

Itsoseng gave voice and put faces to those who protest against service delivery and Cadre questions whether the cost of the struggle is worth the freedom we have now. Molusi is a romantic and at the centre of this tale lies a love story that will break your heart.

»?July 2 at 2pm, Rhodes Theatre

6 Asinamali, one of the most important pieces of apartheid-era theatre, is given a reboot.

Directed by Prince Lamla, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Theatre, it is a new cast and a new perspective that makes this a must for your programme.

First staged in 1985, Asinamali is set during the 1983 rent strikes in Lamontville. Lamla has already proven he can freshen up a classic with his much

lauded reboot of Woza Albert!

»?July 3 at 3pm, Rhodes Box Theatre

Biko’s Quest

7 Biko’s Quest is another piece that interrogates the past and how far we have really come in creating a more humane society.

Inspired by a photographic exhibition, The Quest for a True Humanity, the piece combines dance, performance and photography to explore the relevance of Steve Biko for today’s South Africa, while also paying homage to the many other people who were detained without trial and died during apartheid.

»?July 3 at 6pm, Transnet Great Hall

8 Bain Brisé promises to get tongues wagging with this piece, which is part of a performance art offering, a genre added last year that featured the controversial works of Steven Cohen, Brett Bailey and Athi Patha Ruga. Performer Yann Marussich emerges from a bath filled with glass shards over a period of 90?minutes.

As dangerous as it is beautiful, this is sure to be a conversation starter.

»?July 4 at 2pm, Atherstone Room

9 Indumba is Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Dance Fana Tshabalala’s newly created piece. Done in collaboration with the innovative Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, the piece sticks to the theme of how we deal with the past to move forward in the present.

Based on work by Paul Granjo documenting cleansing rituals in Mozambique to wash away the stain of the civil war, this dance piece is about a rite of passage to create new beginnings.

»?July 5 at 8pm, Rhodes Theatre

10 Cry Havoc made its debut a decade ago, but its content remains ever relevant in our intolerant society. Throughout, Playwright Tom Coash asks: what is love? His answer is far from romantic.

Instead, he explores the terrible things people do to each other in the name of love – for country or for religion. He explores the East-West political divide through the personal love story between a British writer in Egypt and his Egyptian lover.

The play features two well-seasoned performers in David Dennis as the writer and Brenda Radloff, with Gopala Chetty as the young lover.

»?July 6 at 2pm, Rhodes Box

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