Last week ‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’ did it’s 3rd run at the Space.com, Joburg Theatre. Here are some pics below:
On Thursday night, the 17th of August 2017, “Out of Joint” opened at The Joburg Theatre (Fringe Theatre) with almost a full house of audience members in the auditorium. The show began in darkness, and we start to hear the voices of the performers on stage asking a variety of questions of: “if I sting you…will you die?/ if I kiss you…will you smile?” as the different spotlights revealed the six performers on stage. We start on a journey which explored “the social orders that are bursting out of joint”; as mentioned in the beginning of the show, “Out of Joint” is a Physical Theatre piece that focused on the exploration of the issues of ‘power and powerlessness’. With the cast of two females and four males, we see the power struggles of the individual and the social body throughout the work. Choreographed by the celebrated South African dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, scriptwriter and founder of Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT), Gregory Maqoma, alongside the Austrian born dancer, choreographer, artistic director, festival curator and founder of steptext dance project in Schwankhalle Bremen, Helge Letonja; you could see the combination of the cross-cultures/training background of the two choreographers in this work.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this work was the precision and the unison during the ensemble choreography. I enjoyed how much the group phrases reminded me of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s choreographically technique of breaking phrases down into and out of the original phrase, which always creates an interesting dynamic rhythmically & visually to the work. Each dancer got a chance to show off their skills during their solos, and each solo had a different quality to it, which showed the dancers in their most powerful & yet vulnerable form as they would somehow get interrupted or consumed by the other bodies in the space. There was a merge of different styles of dance within the piece, such as hip-hop influences of ‘krump & tutting’, contemporary dance and even a touch of African dance, which added different textures to the work. I really enjoyed the different shapes created by the bodies in the space and the use of space was also as interesting, where the back of the stage was used, creating a separate platform for the piece.
The design for the whole piece was generally very simple and minimal, with the costume choice of everyday clothes in four main colors: blue, red, black and navy green. There was a white cloth with big holes hanging at the back of the stage in which at some point glowed in the dark, was later taken down and back up towards the end of the show. My only concern regarding this set design was that it was not used to its full capacity, in the sense that; I do not think it was needed. There was only one dancer (Mariko Koh) who had a costume change (first with the wedding dress and then in her underwear). I would have loved it if she stayed in her underwear (or at least half dressed), and/or joined by the rest of the ensemble also half-dressed to represent them reclaiming their bodies from the structures of the social body which had all the power in the beginning piece. One thing that caught my attention in terms of the lighting was when there was a blackout for a while, leaving the stage empty with no action, and I personally found it unfortunate because it took me out of the world of the story for a little bit. Though in general the lights were simple and created different shapes around the stage which added different dynamics to the bodies in the space.
“Out of Joint” in general was a very abstract piece, because at times it seemed like there were many elements to it for the audience to register at one go, which somewhat alienated the audience at some points. I feel like the work was not for audience members who were not used to physical theatre works; which is the general feeling I got from some audience members after the show. Though for those who enjoy physical theatre, will be able to enjoy the skill of dance presented by the performers as well as find different interpretations to the themes within the work. With only a four day run at the Fringe Theatre, “Out of Joint” ended on the 20th of August, at 14h00. Those who were able to catch it will walk out experiencing a European-South African collaboration between the choreographers and the performers, exploring issues that are very relevant today in the world as a whole.
A short review of Ankobia by Malebogo ‘Lucky’ Mqoboli
Ankobia visibly employs various political satire conventions and borrows from Afrofuturism aesthetics. As such, it is present in the future. Ankobia privileges the African mode of thought, values, and morals as proposed and detailed by Afrocentric and Afrofutirstic visual and audio creatives and theoreticians alike (African intelligentsia class).
Ankobia boldly exposes the illusion and the promises manufactured by the dominant religion discourse and how it purports the notion of freedom. The play successfully tackles the meta-narrative (i.e. the importance of land) theme that continues to reside in the imagination of post-apartheid South African black youth.Through its theatrics, we are reminded that Africans have been deeply connected to the land. And we must not shy away from that. Land means dignity to Africans.
Additionally, Ankobia confronts the liberal sensibilities using allegory and African idioms and proverbs (in this case SeTswana cultural codes) as extended pictorial and linguistic metaphors to express the notion of freedom and individual experiences of black people after the performed injustices of slavery and colonialism upon the African continent.
Throughout the play, Ankobia visits the prevailing tensions between African Traditional Religion and Christianity. We are challenged to interrogate our Bantu Afrikan Spirituality as the solution to our modern day philosophical, ideological and ontological crisis. Therefore, there is an implied suggestion that, black Africans must return to the source and champion their consciousness and reach for a higher self. I’d say it presents us with some answers and clues.
‘Ankobia’ premiered at Rhodes Theatre for NAF 2017, and will be on at the Market Theatre until the 13th August 2017. To book tickets visit: https://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=1472721880
Co-writers: Monageng Vice Motshabi & Omphile Molusi
Director: Monageng Vice Motshabi
THE MOVEMENT RSA would like to thank Lucky for his contribution towards One Person’s Opinion!
Last year The Movement RSA brought you ‘Just Antigone’ and this year we’re back with a new setwork! ‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’ is inspired by Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ – the 2017 setwork for IEB Matric learners.
This is a tale of how gossip and superstition can fiercely capture the mind of a people. Looking at how myth can still live in the imagination, and for some the reality of life, this tale follows a community forced to look at its own faults and dreams.
‘The Crucifixion of Amagqwirha’ will be on at:
National Arts Festival:
4th July – 18:00
5th July – 16:00
6th July – 22:00
7th July – 16:00
8th July – 20:00
Wits Theatre 969 Festival:
Friday 21st July – 18:30
Tonight’s the preview, and then tomorrow will be the opening night of ‘Tswalo – a narrative poem’ at the Soweto Theatre! This “narrative poem” is performed by the formidable Billy Langa whose poetic prowess has been seen in other works such as “Poet-O-Type” by Jeff Tshabalala. The work is directed by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, who despite his youth has already steered many successful shows including ‘My Children! My Africa!’ and “Lysistrata’. Langa and Mokgonyana co-directed The Movement RSA’s ‘Just Atigone’, which was recently nominated for three Naledi Awards.
Normally it would be ‘black Monday’ in the theatre-world, but this Monday 6th of February The Movement RSA participated in the 1st ‘Monologue Mondays’ of 2017. The event, hosted by Andz Mpinda and her incredible creative team, was held at The Hive in Braamfontein. The unconventional venue, which usually exhibits artwork, had performers set up in various corners (and a stairway too) as though living sculptures – reminiscent of shows such as Brett Bailey’s ‘Exhibit A’ and Mwenya Kabwe’s ‘Nomads Among Us’. The audience moved from one space to the next, watching as the actors performed either Shakespearian sonnets or modern monologues about love. Love and romance was the theme of the evening, given Valentines Day next week and the artists’ love of theatre in general. At the end of the prepared performances, certain audience members were called up to read ‘love letters’ they had received upon entering the space. These love letters were new pieces by writers asked to create ‘responses’ to a particular Sonnet they’d been given by the organisers. Some were written in sonnet form, others in monologue form, but all were responses Shakespeare would have been proud of (keep a look out for some pieces on our blog).
A big thank you to the organisers of the event, LEON for providing such soulful music, The Hive, the writers, performers and readers, and of course the audience! It was wonderful to collaborate with you all.
Monologue Mondays will take place the 1st Monday of each month – meaning the next one is on the 6th of March (write it in your diary). To get involved or to get more info, kindly contact Andisiwe Mpinda (Director of Entsimini Produce and Monologue Mondays) at email@example.com
Below is a like to a short video-slash-slideshow of the event. Forgive the poor quality. After all we’re theatre-makers, not film-makers.
By Binnie Christie
A list of sins committed by actors and audiences:
1. Your phone going off: There’s this amazing new phone function! It’s called the ‘off’ button. Use it… Nobody wants to hear your ring tone as you struggle to find your phone in your bag or pocket. So keep those phones quiet, otherwise you might just be called an “asshole” by Jemma Khan (as happened during ‘We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants’) or be embarrassed by King Creon (Jovan Muthray in ‘Just Antigone’).
2. Leaving/entering during a performance: Get to the theatre on time, and go to the bathroom before the show begins. The only excuse for leaving is in an emergency, like your wife having a baby or your Gran on her death bed, in which case you probably shouldn’t be at the theatre anyway… If you hate the show, bring some tomatoes instead of doing a walk-out.
3. Using a prop for anything off-stage: The Movement RSA learnt this the hard way. On a very cold night during Grahamstown Fest we used the blankets from ‘Just Antigone’ as extra bedding, and then of course forgot them as the backpackers. Poor Campbell (the fastest driver!) had to dash home to get them less than an hour before we went on… Props break, get lost or stolen, so instead of giving your stage-manager a heart attack, leave them for the show!
4. Saying ‘sorry’ if you forget your lines: There is no apology for apologizing on stage. Nor asking to start again… It’s called improv!
5. Talking during a show: A quick comment to the person next to you is alright, but if you treat a performance like the Oprah Show, other people want to stab you. This is not about you! Chat in the foyer instead and don’t heckle the performers.
6. Saying McBeezy in the theatre: This rule is so ingrained in me that I fear even writing the name of Shakespeare’s Scottish play. If you do utter it however, according to Nick Mayer (previously the Workshop manager of Wits Theatre) you must spit on the ground and turn around three times.
7. Being in costume off-stage: Mahlatsi Mokgonyana will school you on this one! (We know). Sometimes it’s difficult as an actor to run to the bathroom without passing the audience, and all performers know how nerves can affect your bladder, but either change quickly back into your regular clothes, or bring a dressing gown, robe or invisibility cloak.
Any rules we left out? Write a comment or submit your own rules.