On the 20th of February 2016, Director of the Wits Theatre, Gita Pather, wrote the following comments about ‘Just Antigone’ on her Facebook:
“Last night after a particularly long hard week, I went to the lovely Hayleigh Evans’ PopArt to watch Just Antigone directed by Mahlatsi DBoy Mokgonyana and Billy Edward with Mlindeli Emmanuel Zondi, Jovan Muthray, Campbell Jessica Meas, Binnie Christie and two other phenomenal actresses.
It was a triumph that few directors could match. The directors first coup is their ability to cut to the bone of a convoluted classic that is premised on the idea that the audience are familiar with the preceding context provided in Oedipus and present a pared down text interspersed with a contemporary hip version of the Greek chorus. It is one that takes “selfies” injecting a physicality that is so uniquely South African into Sophocles much loved Antigone.
But thankfully, it’s not some superficial “tricksy, cute, being hip injection” that I have seen so often in classic plays as directors attempt superficially to make the work more accessible to a young audience.
It brings a pace to the play and Yet nothing of the beauty of verse and language is sacrificed and all of the six strong cast handle the original text with a delicacy that belies their youth and is a testimony to the process driven, body and text centred performance approach of Billy and Mahlatsi. There were standout performances and in particular : Jovan, Mli and the young woman who played Antigone whose name I know but which escapes this rapidly aging mind although a Programme may have helped. She is outstanding… She brought a sensibility to her Antigone that was masterful. Mli who plays Creon’s son is a marvel, an actor whose very body seems to arch over the stage with a palpable intensity that was riveting to watch. In contrast, Jovan’s languid, slighting sneering Creon’s was an equal delight. During the play, a cell phone went off and not missing a beat, he swung his considerable energy into a wonderful swipe at the offending audience member to great humorous effect. All three of these young actors are talents to watch and as the play unfolded, I could only marvel at this wonderfully crafted play that could only happen in South Africa because it embodies a style and a physicality that is so distinctive. The directors In particular are going places …. They already have an impressive credit list and could teach many a seasoned director a thing or two about great ensemble work.
All in all a fabulous evening concluded with a handshake and understanding that Antigone will come to the 969 festival as my opening performance. Well done to the directors and cast. So buy a ticket now …. Two more performances today and tomorrow”
The Movement RSA thanks Gita for her kind words, and invitation to be the Opening Act of the 969 Festival!