Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

With posters plastering every wall and a Festival programme bulging with shows, it’s easy for Festival-goers this year to become a little overwhelmed. The icy winds and rain-soaked streets do not help matters. So how is everybody surviving the Festival this year?

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When I’m asked to state my occupation on a form, I tend to write unemployed,” says Clare Mortimer, who in fact has three official job titles to choose from: actor, writer and director. Although Mortimer has graced stages at the Festival for longer than she can remember, she didn’t plan on pursuing a career in theatre as a young woman. She didn’t study Drama at university – she thought it would be too much of an easy credit – and ended up graduating with a degree in Law. “I couldn’t sing or dance and I never thought of acting as an actual career,” Mortimer said.

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David Newton

Q: How long have you been participating in the National Arts Festival?
A: I’ve been participating for more than five years now.

Q: What decided your fate as a comedian?
A: I don’t know. I guess I just fell into it; I was tired of doing a job I didn’t like. I guess I’m a big show-off, so I thought why not?

Q: Where do you get your material from?
A: Most of my material comes from just looking around. I’ll be at a coffee shop and just look around and I guess I see things differently to what other people at the coffee shop see, and I write it down. I hope that comedy moves away from the political; people need to move on. There are only so many Jacob Zuma jokes that you can laugh at.

Q: Is it difficult to keep people laughing and coming back for more?
A: A while ago, when I was starting out, I would say emphatically, yes. But once you realise what people like, it’s okay. I also think more and more people are wanting to laugh.

Q: Have you moved away from traditional stand-up comedy to more theatrical work?
A: I don’t think I’ve moved away … My first show, Defending the Laid Man, got a Fleur du Cap nomination, which is a theatre award. I do think my second and third shows are more stand-up comedy, as you say, but I also have song and dance numbers in them. So I think whatever makes people laugh, if they want to call it theatrical, so be it.

‘Siv’ Ngesi

Q: How long have you been participating in the National Arts Festival?
A: This is my third year.

Q: What decided your fate as a comedian?
A: For about five years I watched David [Newton’s] shows at least seven times. Then one day we were talking and were like, hey, why don’t we do a show together? So we did and here I am.

Q: Where do you get your material from?
A: It’s life experiences, you know? I’ve grown up on both sides of the world – I spent 10 years in a black area and 13 years in a white area – so I’ve seen both perspectives. I think we gradually need to move away from political comedy, but at the moment, it keeps people laughing. I think the whole Jacob Zuma angle has been abused and we gradually need to move away from political comedy. I use politics in my show, but it’s things that need to be said as a black guy who’s seen both sides of the world and been on both sides of the wall.

Q: Is it difficult to keep people laughing and coming back for more?
A: It is difficult; every audience is different. One night people can be laughing at one joke and the next night they won’t laugh at the exact same joke. As long as I’m loving it, though, the audience seems to enjoy it too.

Q: Have you moved away from traditional stand-up comedy to more theatrical work?
A: A lot of my work is stand-up but a lot is theatrical too. I’ve been an actor, so stand-up is just exercising a different muscle.

Ben Voss

Q: How long have you been participating in the National Arts Festival?
A: A third of my life: 12 years!

Q: What decided your fate as a comedian?
A: I put on a Nelson Mandela mask at the launch of a new truck appropriately called the “Actos”. When I did Madiba’s accent, people fell about. It shocked me more than anything!

Q: Where do you get your material from?
A: Gareth Cliff, Barry Ronge, Manto, Alec Erwin, Jacob Zuma, Pieter de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Julius Malema, Tony Yengeni… These are the true comic geniuses of our time.

Q: Is it difficult to keep people laughing and coming back for more?
A: Not if you don’t think you are funny.

Q: Have you moved away from traditional stand-up comedy to more theatrical work?
A: No. I have moved the other way. I thought I would be playing Macbeth at 35. But I am closer to Lear’s fool!

U-Eskom uthembisa ngokungawucimi umbane kumnyadala we Arts Festival eRhini, kodwa ke oosomashishini baxhalabile ngenxa yocimo mbane, load shedding ke ukutsho. Intatheli yejelo le-SABC u Simnikiwe Mzekandaba uzanengxelo.

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