Posts Tagged ‘performance’

STEFF_JB_09JUL15009

Throughout this festival I’ve been hearing people rant and rave about Dr Stef and his hypnosis show. Comments have been wide-ranging, from “absolute farce” to “absolutely amazing”, so  I decided to get in on the action and see for myself what all the fuss is about.

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Warren Robertson brings an energetic enthusiasm to his show. Whilst it is a comedy show, it also is educational in the most refreshing manner. His energy will leave you entertained whilst actually learning more about the world. This is an authentic performance.

Johnson Mthembu

Undermined, Directed by Tara Notcutt, at the 2015 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The 2014 Standard Bank Ovation Award winner and Fringe World 2015 nominee for Best in Theatre tells the story of Madlebe; a story of hope and perseverance.
(Photo: Sithasolwazi Kentane)

The stage is black. Three silhouetted men emerge one after the other. There is no dialogue to begin with, but rather sounds of construction: digging, a jackhammer, a pick axe. It is not clear what you are watching at first, but Tara Notcutt’s Undermined unfolds into a captivating and telling story.

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5-Senses

The 2015 National Arts Festival is in full swing and if you’ve been on a walkabout tour you will find music, food and performances at every corner. But if all this action is making you feel a little bit overwhelmed, use our helpful guide with a few picks to soothe your senses. This interactive guide has maps, images and helpful hints to help you find some of festivals best activities.

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Social media and mobile devices are quickly becoming a permanent fixture in everyday life. We share every facet of ourselves with the world, including what we had for breakfast, who our friends are, and our likes and dislikes. This complete integration of the digital has the potential to change how we watch and engage with performances.

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At the DSG Hall, it is common to see the professional musicians sitting in the audience, tapping their knees frenetically or shouting loudly in response to a performance. There is an obvious atmosphere of camaraderie and you’ll often hear them discussing what they just saw or played at. In many ways, the Jazz Festival is a musicians’ festival.

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The curtain is about to fall on the National Arts Festival 2012. Maybe it will be operated by the character in Chris Weare’s production of Tonight Neither Hamlet, a deceptively modest one-actor show that was a highlight for me, with Adrian Galley’s strong depiction of a disappointed backstage worker driven to the point of madness. Staying with the unhinged, The Dogs Must Be Crazy was another highlight this year. Ubom!’s insane physical theatre version of an old Mike van Graan script under the masterly direction of the not-entirely-sane Rob Murray. 

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Hercules, the male lead in Manolibera, a light-hearted send-up of southern European life, is a loveable buffoon. He is also afflicted by all the maladies of middle-aged life.

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There is much to recommend this Young Artist of the Year Award drama production. Shimmering costumes that hint at a reptilian, insectivorous world of bling. Actors shrouded by masks of lace. Hauntingly beautiful singing. Moments of lyrical poetry. Beautifully evocative lighting. A set that suggests a subterranean world where the shadows that hide behind our carefully manufactured facades reside.

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Much like Shakespeare would have originally been performed, on a bare, sunlit stage, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by director Fred Abrahamse is played on a simplified set. When performing classical theatre, one has to think of innovative ways to do it successfully, without compromising the original piece. Set in a luxury game reserve in a South African context, Abrahamse’s Midsummer has elements of modern dress. But despite its modern flavours, the production remains true to the Bard’s classic.

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