The National Arts Festival pretty much reflects the theatre scene as a whole. There is still not enough black theatre, and there are not enough black audience members. It’s largely a matter of economics but it’s also related to artistic will.
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In style and some substance this solo theatre performance has much in common with Miracle in Rwuanda: a skilled actor tells a story in the character of a woman in a terrifying situation, a woman whose Christian faith assists in her having the strength to survive three months of hell. It also has similar elements to I Have Life – Alison’s Journey, also adapted by the director from a book about a truly horrific experience.
The Blue Iris is set in a Karoo farmyard where Robert Hannay (Graham Weir) and Rieta Plaasman (Lee-Ann van Rooi) live outdoors as they sift and sort through the wreckage of a house that has recently burnt down. They are both in search of objects and answers, and have been reduced to a life of deprivation in the process. Rieta makes do by cooking outdoors on a primus stove instead of using the Aga that her mother used in the old house. The reason they are still there is that both their lives are haunted by the death of Robert’s wife Sally, and the many riddles she left behind. They are trapped in a timeless, fractured world in which neither of them can undo what has happened or move on with their lives.
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