Report by Dillon Lutchman & Ethan Van Diemen
They dance together, they play together. She pulls away, it pulls her back. Her fear feeds it. She is both victim and aggressor, alone and encumbered. They do this together even though they are really one. Ester Natzijl puts on a fascinating and haunting performance that sees her navigate through otherness, intimacy, desire, fear, co-dependency, violence and a myriad of other themes related to the human condition. What seems to be a duo is in fact a masterful manipulation of an inanimate, human-based, puppet by Ester. This is not two.
Report by Sarah Knight & Kellan Botha
Two women, Genna and Natasha, find their lives to be without trajectory at the age of 30, with neither being where they thought they would socially, financially or romantically. After a few failed attempts at having fun, the duo decide on a fun night out at a drag show where they meet the extravagant Shenay, who teaches them “how to be fabulous”.
Funny musical numbers, jokes of all kinds, and quite a few wigs all come together to show Genna and Natasha that it doesn’t matter where you are at 30, just as long as you stay unapologetically true to yourself.No comments
Report by Tsholofelo Tselaemang, Smangaliso Ngwenya & Armand Juninho-Mukenge
Named after the part of the Constitution that deals with the freedoms of sexuality this production pays homage to lesbians in South Africa who have been killed because of their sexual orientation. It voices out the issues of human rights and sexual discrimination. It urges the audience to know their rights. The piece is a collection of real stories of lesbians who have been killed or deal with sexual discrimination.
Report by Sebastian Burger & Ethan Van Diemen
Bheki Mseleku is still rather an unknown musical legend. Respected as one of the most influential jazz legends of South Africa, he is barely known outside of jazz circles and died in England in 2008. As a tribute to the artist, Afrika Mkhize conducted a big band tribute to him at the 2016 National Arts Festival, accompanied by some of the best young jazz artists in South Africa.
Report by Bracken Lee-Rudolph & Dillon Lutchman
Standard Bank National Schools’ Big Band performs ‘Etosha’, composed by Dan Shout at National Arts Festival 2016.
This year’s Standard National Schools’ Big Band performed at the DSG Hall at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The band was comprised of scholars filtered from a group of 350 high school age students, who had been discovered through a selection processes in individual provinces.
Report by Afika Lulo Jadezweni, Athini Majali & Sebastian Burger
Sylvia Vollenhoven is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and journalist who uses her writing as a tool to unearth the injustices of the past. Her fictional and biographical adaptation of The Keeper of the Kumm explores the ancestral relationship that indigenous people of colour tend to supress because of colonial history. In this piece, Sylvia talks about the land dispute, inequality and coloured identity.
Report by Zondelela Njaba & Mihlali Ntsabo
Tease is a comedy written and produced by Tumi Morake, Vanessa Frost and Jose Domingos. It is set in a hair salon about sex, the sexual liberation of women, life and love.
Report by Zizipho Majavu, Athini Majali & Nontobeko Gumede
A young man returns to the basement of his childhood home. He whiles away the hours, drinking and waiting for someone to come looking for him. The basement is empty except for an old couch, two crates filled with bottles of alcohol, and paper airplanes strewn about the room. It is the graveyard that holds the family’s secrets in its peeling walls and grimy floor – the secrets and ghosts that have sunk into the foundations of the house. From three-time Standard Bank Ovation Award-winners, Rust Co-Operative.
Report by Tsholofelo Tselaemang & Michael Dorfling
A rapper, mothers, a clothing designer, a lawyer; these are the Muslim women whose lives are uncovered in ‘Unveiled’.
‘Unveiled’ is a solo theatre piece written by Rohina Malik and performed by South African-born actress Gulshan Mia. The play details incidents of Islamophobia faced by Muslim women from different backgrounds following 9/11.
Mia and Wayne Maugans, the play’s director, share why ‘Unveiled’ is necessary at this moment in America, South Africa and the world.
Report by Sarah Knight, Nontobeko Gumede & Kellan Botha
A CueTube crew were invited to participate in an immersive experience unlike any other. “bRENT: A Mobile Thriller” an audeince of three in a world of pain, fear and anger. On a ride through the streets of Grahamstown, the small audience becomes part of this super-scary mini-drama. Through introducing participants to the eponymous “bRent”, this production provokes dialogue about homophobia, bigotry and humanity in South African society. When Cue Media continues to report on homophobic hate-crimes occurring throughout the National Arts Festival, the piece hammers home the importance of the issue in an eye-opening and thrilling ride.
Report by Sarah Knight & Michael Dorfling
Do we need to know the same language and live through similar experiences to communicate with each other?
Dealing with communications between abled and disabled bodied people, confessions, the language of texting, and the language of expressions, No Fun Ction All Anguage takes a close look at the in-between spaces where words fail us – where we desperately search for meaning – between vowels, consonants and silences.
Jayne Batzofin, director of the play, talks us through its history, her admiration of the cast and their personal stories, and what she hopes the audience took from it.No comments
Report by Zizipho Majavu & Zondelela Njaba
Ntsiki Speaks is a one-woman poetry show by Ntsiki Mazwai about the social issues faced by South Africa especially the children of Azania. These range from politics, issues of identity, rape-culture, racism and spirituality.
Report by Nontobeko Gumede & Tsholofelo Tselaemang
Morwa The Rising Son is solo theatre that grapples with African masculinity and the different ways in which it is defined.
It follows the experiences of a Motswana man and the different articulations of masculinity that he comes across.
Tefo Paya, the writer and actor of the piece, shares how his experiences and a desire to interrogate problematic associations with patriarchy and African masculinity inspired the play.
Report by Mihlali Ntsabo & Tsholofelo Tselaemang
Semi-Gloss is a public art work that takes old National Arts Festival posters and turns them into sculptures that are worn as costumes. Two of the costumed performers, Ayanda Nondlwana and Athenkosi Nyikilana describe their act as a metaphor for how local Grahamstown artists are used and discarded just like these old posters. The performance illustrates the idea that posters and local artists are only useful for the ten days of festival. Local artists they argue should not just be ‘ten-day’ men.
Report by Stephanie Shumba & Kayleigh Tuck
Adapted from the original book by Pinto Ferreira, Last Supper is a play about a boy who goes to live with his aunt Roseline in the small town of Richmond, South Africa. He moves from Europe after the deaths of his mother and step father to live with his last surviving relative. Abused as a child, Ignatius never felt like he belonged to the world and the world rejected him. However, the community loved it when he dressed up and performed for them at night or at special events. He loved doing this because for a brief moment he felt loved by those who abused and picked on him.