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Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

THE NA­TIONAL Arts Fes­ti­val wraps up in Gra­ham­stown to­mor­row and many fes­ti­val pro­duc­tions are headed to the Mother City.

Many pro­duc­tions were sold out, such as Lara Foot’s In­con­ve­nience of Wings. It is at the Bax­ter from Tues­day and runs un­til Au­gust 14.

Pulp – tagged as an “in­tox­i­cat­ing mar­riage of film noir meets dance the­atre” – was an­other pro­duc­tion which re­ceived ac­claim. It opened on Thursday night at the Rose­bank The­atre and is on un­til next Satur­day. It will then move to the Gal­loway The­atre at the V&A Water­front, from July 20-23.

Mu­si­cal the­atre star Steven van Wyk who re­cently played Cosmo Brown in the in­ter­na­tional and South African tours of Sin­gin’ in the Rain – for which he was nom­i­nated for the Fleur du Cap Award – per­forms in Pulp.

The pro­duc­tion is pre­sented by the award-win­ning Un­der­ground Dance The­atre col­lec­tive.

In ad­di­tion to performing, Van Wyk con­ceived, de­signed and wrote the piece. He also co-chore­ographed and di­rected it with Cilna Katzke and Thalia Laric, who also per­form.

In Pulp, they have fo­cused on archetypes found in pulp fic­tion and film noir – the femme fa­tale, private in­ves­ti­ga­tor – and re-imag­ined them in a dance the­atre set­ting.

Van Wyk ex­plained: “The ti­tle comes more from the idea of re­duc­ing some­thing down to pulp: a nar­ra­tive, the essence of a char­ac­ter; the con­ven­tions of the­atre and jazz dance.

“The key film noir that in­spired this work is Kiss Me Deadly, a clas­sic from the for- ties about a mys­te­ri­ous suit­case that ev­ery­one wants to get their hands on.

“The drama over this suit­case in­spired Tarantino to make Pulp Fic­tion, which also cen­tres around a brief­case which is pre­cious for an un­known rea­son… We have taken the frame of ref­er­ence as film noir, with a pulpy feel.

“We wanted to set up this camp, pulp-in­spired nar­ra­tive that is quite tra­di­tional in the way it ties the film noir-style voice- over nar­ra­tion to the ac­tion that is danced on stage.”

As the nar­ra­tive im­plodes, what is the nar­ra­tor left to nar­rate?

And if the move­ment and dance had been so linked to the text that he is speak­ing, what hap­pens when he is re­ally nar­rat­ing noth­ing?

The nar­ra­tor has to stick with his melo­dra­matic shtick, but when he is nar­rat­ing a crossword puz­zle, for in­stance, what do the char­ac­ters do?

There was some in­flu­ence from Van Wyk’s per­for­mance in Sin­gin’ in the Rain, “but my feel for film noir was in­spired by my tenure on Sun­set Boule­vard, where as part of the small en­sem­ble cast we played private de­tec­tives, pa­parazzi, Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties, and mob­sters.

“That melo­dra­matic, campy mood fas­ci­nated me be­cause it’s level of styli­sa­tion is so high that it be­gins to seem aware of it­self.

“It has th­ese rules in terms of the char­ac­ters that are al­lowed in that world and how you need to per­form them.

“The mu­sic and the light­ing that ex­ists in that world is also in­cred­i­bly spe­cific.”

Tick­ets for Pulp at the Rose­bank The­atre (un­til next Satur­day), are R100. Book at www. webticket.co.za. Tick­ets for the sea­son at the Gal­loway (July 20-23) are R90-R120. Book at www. wa­ter­frontthe­atreschool.co.za

Pulp.

Cilna Katzke and Thalia Laric in

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