Stages, saints and sinners: Comics whose Bosman stories make the audience laugh uproariously

2011-07-06 08:27

A trio of theatre companies from the Mother City – Cape Town Edge and FTH:K and Conspiracy of Clowns – are telling stories in innovative ways.

Mafeking Road reworks Herman Charles Bosman for a new generation – the sharply observant, satirical and subversive storyteller would have loved to watch the two young men, Andrew Laubscher and Matthew Lewis, in this production freshen up his stories for a new generation.

Oom Schalk Lourens is up to all sorts of nonsense – seeing leopards and sharing tree-shade with one, helping a fellow Groot Marico resident get a declaration of love from his shy amor.

Then there’s the peach brandy incident and the unforgettable church service with the 176-verse hymn.

Most South Africans are familiar with Bosman’s work and this play is a welcome addition to the stage works previously inspired by his works.
Laubscher and Lewis use their bodies to tell the stories, walking their fingers down their arms when a long walk is on the cards; drawing the veld with their fingers and sound effects to set the scene; and sometimes arguing among themselves about how something should be done – in this way cleverly giving clues to the audience to help them navigate the no-verbal bits.

Though this helping hand was just enough and was hardly needed as everyone – from teen to veteran – laughed uproariously throughout.

The production also brings in familiar cues – one story is told in episodes like a soap opera – and the drawing of the settings with their fingers and the sound effects trick the imagination into picturing all sorts of things that aren’t there and brings to mind film, a medium that is more familiar to many. A sign of a really good theatre piece.

Another exciting piece of theatre is the new creation from FTH:K and Conspiracy of Clowns. Directed by Rob Murray, this non-verbal, masked performance is wonderful.

I have only seen one other piece of this company’s work – as I am always in Joburg when they are performing in Cape Town. What a relevation.

FTH:K’s slogan is Listen With Your Eyes and they work with deaf performers and make theatre that can be accessed by those who can’t hear as well as those who can.

Benchmarks is about three characters brought together and then tragically torn apart. There’s the home affairs clerk, the elderly widow and the young Zimbabwean immigrant.

The three’s lives intersect as one kindness leads to another, but their touching human interaction is cut short by death and crime.

Benchmarks takes on the spectre of xenophobia, something that does need to be put back at the top of the political and social agenda.

This story, told by performers in full mask, has no words and no facial expressions to tell it, is about enriching our lives through difference.

Which is a theme that is running through the festival this year and one that the company prides itself on.

Join the conversation! 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. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.