Comedy at Musho

2009-01-08 00:00

DURBAN-born Aldo Brincat has turned the spotlight on his own past with his latest offering, My Father’s Hat.

The show, which forms part of the fourth Musho International Theatre Festival, hosted by the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (Pansa), can be seen at the Bat Hall Theatre tomorrow at 8 pm and on Saturday at 6 pm.

It takes a comic look at three generations of men from one family living out their passionate hobby as stage magicians. Set against a backdrop of South Africa in the early eighties, they try to survive in various ways, including through magic and mayhem.

Brincat grew up in a family of stage magicians and from an early age was taught the art of sleight of hand. The talented ballet dancer and mime artist later headed to Paris to study under the legendary Jacque le Coq. Upon his return to South Africa, he fused the worlds of physical theatre and the spoken word to create a number of entertaining productions, including The House Husband, Defending the Cave Brats, King Kong, Arney’s Outrageous Rise, The Boy with a Clown’s Heart and Moron Than Off.

My Father’s Hat, which is written by and stars Brincat, has already played to capacity houses at the Grahamstown Festival, enjoyed a month-long run in Cape Town and was the first play to be staged at Alexander McCall Smith’s Number One Ladies’ Opera House in Gaborone.

Despite this success, Brincat is excited about bringing the show to his hometown audience. “I was invited to participate [in Musho] by Themi Venturas, my mentor, when he saw the production in Cape Town last August,” he explained.

When asked why he thinks the festival is important, he said: “It provides theatre lovers with an opportunity to see shows at a time in the year when there is very little else on.

“It is also a boost for the performers and helps new work to be seen and groomed ahead of the year’s busy festival calendar. With the credit crunch, more and more theatre practitioners are opting for smaller casts and smaller forms of theatre, and the festival caters for that kind of practitioner.”

Asked if he would consider bringing the show to the Hilton Arts Festival later this year, he said: “I would love to perform at the Hilton Festival again as I performed there for the first 10 years of its life. But I understand the festival directors are inundated with requests to stage work from all over South Africa. One can only hope!”

How to book:

All productions at Musho have two performances each — either at the Bat or Catalina Theatres. For more information, phone the Catalina Theatre at 031 305 6889. Full schedules are also available at www.mushofestival.co.za

Tickets can be bought from www.strictlytickets.com or www.goingplacessa.co.za or from Thandeka at the Catalina Theatre at 031 305 6889.

Musho Festival: What else is on offer?

• Rain — today at 8 pm and tomorrow at 6 pm at the Bat Hall Theatre. A beautifully told story based on an ancient San myth, exploring the interaction between celestial and terrestrial beings, the power of nature and the mysteries of heaven. Drama with music and puppets.

• Womanhood — tomorrow at 8 pm and Saturday at 6 pm at the Catalina Theatre. A hilarious reflection on the journey from girlhood to womanhood, and all the moments of madness, heartbreak, hell and life in-between.

• It’s not me — Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 6 pm at the Catalina Theatre. The sins of the past carry over into the present as things that happened during the apartheid era stand in the way of romance and threaten to break a family apart.

• Wraakengel — Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm at the Bat Hall Theatre. Barend Blydestroom is investigating the suicide of his betrothed in the small town of Roodeplaats, where strange events start to plague him. A tale of love and revenge.

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