“It’s all about the experience,” says director Quentin Wils. “It shouldn’t just be about sitting and watching a show.” Alexa – A Mobile Thriller is an original and chilling twist to the theatre experience.
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There are young mimes on every Grahamstown street corner. Two five-year-olds in school uniform on Prince Alfred Street attract my attention. One wears an oversized clownish tie, and the other a fedora that covers his eyebrows.
This weekend Grahamstown will be bursting at the seams with extraordinary creatures. “The tortoise – that’s our fault,” said music teacher Gareth Walwyn, who has been spending his evenings in an echoing warehouse, carefully crafting Skollie, a musical tortoise the size of a small swimming pool, made from recycled materials.
The Nounouche Sideshow group looked like any other patrons at the Rat and Parrot – if you looked past the orange leopard-print hat, purple bow, jewelled horn-rimmed glasses and the pink furry head of a polar bear called Nounouche, which rested comfortably in the corner of the wooden booth.
Puppetry, one of the oldest forms of theatre, draws on old techniques to produce new, ground-breaking performances. This year’s Festival offers five confirmed productions featuring the use of puppets.
They include Art of Intersection, a street performance which features various cartoon characters, as well as Conrad Koch’s one-man ventriloquist show, Puppet Asylum.
Yesterday morning’s sunshine brought a smile to the faces of most Festival-goers. But Machitún producer Nikki Froneman was ecstatic. With rainfall in Grahamstown having reached a new record this winter, the outdoor production has had some setbacks.
Puppet theatre to enchant adults and captivate children – that’s Peter Hayes’ Sadako, which is leaving Festival audiences smiling broadly through their tears. This is a remarkable work that displays Hayes’ range as a theatre maker, having previously won acclaim for plays such as I Am Here (which is soon to be performed in Argentina as part of a cultural exchange programme) and Ncamisa! The Women.
Community and culture came together in a startling riot of colour and sound at this year’s Street Parade. Viewing it from a distance, the giant heads of the puppets bob along like balloons, and as the parade draws closer, a host of acrobats, stilt walkers and musicians burst forth from the flurry.
This hip-hop alternative genre is very instrumental with a bit of blues incorporated into this mix. A talented and interactive performance with the crowd. This vibey as well as sensual type of music speaks to fans of contemporary jazz and appeals to all age groups. DHFJP
Her small limbs move slowly, her head animatedly moves as she talks, she has wide, innocent eyes and is dressed in a simple pink kimono. She has the joyful voice and demeanour typical of a young and innocent child. Her name is Sadako. And she is a puppet.
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