Young mavericks change landscape of entertainment
AT a time when most people s attention spans 140 characters, some creatives are finding ways to present their art in bite-size form to capture the attention of distracted audiences.
Take Thato Molope for instance. His pop-up comedy show
(SOC) affords comics an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience for 10 minutes only.
A typical SOC line-up features five to six comedians of different experience levels including some who are just starting out, regulars on the local comedy scene and one headliner who pulls the crowd.
The 10-minute set works for the more famous comedians because it puts extra cash in their pockets. For the newcomers, it s a case of saved by the bell if the crowd doesn t like their material,” Molope said.
Meanwhile director and playwright Refiloe Lepere and long-time friend, writer and actor Mlindelwa Mahlangu, have been experimenting with bite-size theatre. The duo recently put on four hard-hitting six to 15minute plays, performed one after another by a cast of three actors.
The composite work, titled Shorts, featured short plays Goodbye, This Night, Checkmate and 76 was a Very Good Year.
We realised we have a changing audience that consumes entertainment very differently. I personally don t like to sit through two hours of theatre. I prefer something that gets to the point while speaking to me at the same time,” Lepere said.
In a question-and-answer session after the staging of the plays, Mahlangu told the audience he had been exposed to the concept of bitesize theatre in New York and decided to try it when he came back home.
I discussed the idea with Refiloe because I knew I could trust her with the vision,” he said.
The setting of these bite-size showcases seems to play a crucial role. was hosted at The Platform in Newtown. The small venue seemed to add to the entire experience by lending an intimacy to the various works.
SOC, on the other hand, is usually hosted at restaurants. Until the Joburg launch at Cappello in Newtown on September 22, it was hosted at different venues in Pretoria. The Joburg launch line-up featured Robby Collins, Mumz, TT, Lazola Gola and Suhayl Essa.
The experimental format of the show enables Molope to open it up to non-comedic talent like musicians, rappers, poets, mime artists and others who are looking for exposure. He makes sure the act matches the ambience of the hosting restaurant.
Talent development appears to be at the centre of these short-form artistic showcases. Bite-size theatre affords [actors, writers and directors] the space to try out new ideas, play different characters and practise their craft,” Lepere said.
Molope feels the same, Sound of Comedy is more than a live comedy show. It is a platform for all artists to showcase their talents and shine.”
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