Arts, cul­ture and cre­ativ­ity

Heady mix of in­ter­na­tional, SA on NAF main pro­gramme

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

EN­TER­TAIN­MENT for all, jux­ta­posed with high con­cept, is what the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val prom­ises this year, NAF ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Ashraf Jo­haar­dien said. In par­tic­u­lar, there are a clutch of phe­nom­e­nal emerg­ing and es­tab­lished fe­male artists. Look out for (among many oth­ers) chore­og­ra­pher and this year’s fea­tured artist Mamela Nyamza, vis­ual artist Gabrielle Go­liath, au­thor Mary Wat­son, cu­ra­tor Tina Smith, ac­tors Klara van Wyk and Buhle Ngaba, as well as Stan­dard Bank Young Artists Thandi Ntuli, Jemma Kahn and Chuma Sopotela.

The main pro­gramme is a “heady mix of uniquely South African and in­ter­na­tional arts, cul­ture and cre­ativ­ity,” Jo­haar­dien said.

“So, segue with us from fresh takes on Shake­speare, the re­turn of Corne and Twakkie in The Most Amaz­ing Show to the un-dance of Steven Co­hen, the ut­terly com­pelling un-theatre of vis­it­ing Cana­dian play­wright Greg MacArthur, and the awe­some un­con­ven­tional Theatre in the Back­yard of Nyanga-based theatre pro­ducer and di­rec­tor Mh­languli Ge­orge.”

Here is a brief over­view of high­lights on the main pro­gramme: DANCE The dance pro­gramme presents strong and ex­cit­ing works rang­ing from clas­si­cal bal­let to more mod­ern work.

Mzokuthula Gasa chore­ographs and di­rects AmaQhawe, a piece that ex­plores what would hap­pen if those who died for our free­dom woke up – what would they say?

Mov­ing Into Dance Mopha­tong will cel­e­brate its 40-year an­niver­sary with Ukubonga Inhlonipho, a pro­gramme chore­ographed by Sylvia Glasser, Themba Mbuli and Sun­ny­boy Mo­tau.

The 2018 bal­let is Romeo and Juliet, per­formed by Cape Town City Bal­let un­der artis­tic di­rec­tor Robin van Wyk, and set to the clas­sic Prokofiev score.

The Cape Dance Com­pany presents In­ter­play, a pro­gramme of works in­clud­ing a new work from South African-born chore­og­ra­pher Mthuthuzeli Novem­ber; a restag­ing of work de­vised in 2009 by Nyamza about young adult­hood and a piece ex­plor­ing how the voice­less feel. Iconic chore­og­ra­pher Adele Blank will restage Sweet on Bob, an ode to jazz leg­end Bob James.

In­doni Dance will present Ikhaya from award-win­ning chore­og­ra­pher Sbonakaliso Nd­aba, who ex­plores the af­ter­math of los­ing her mother in this deeply per­sonal and emo­tive piece.

The South African State Theatre presents Kiu, an ex­am­i­na­tion of drought in Africa and the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing wa­ter per­formed to Afro­cen­tric mu­sic.

Pro Hel­ve­tia brings ex­cit­ing work with a Swiss-Mozam­bi­can con­nec­tion to Gra­ham­stown: Thomas Hauert’s Hã Mais. PER­FOR­MANCE ART Bridg­ing the gap be­tween per­for­mance and vis­ual art, for­mi­da­ble artist Steven Co­hen will per­form his work, put your heart un­der your feet . . . and walk/ To Elu, an in­tense med­i­ta­tion on loss, grief and ab­sence, fol­low­ing the death of Elu, Co­hen’s part­ner and artis­tic col­lab­o­ra­tor. It’s been de­scribed as shock­ing, sad, beau­ti­ful and un­com­fort­able all at once.

The Mother­tongue Project’s Walk is a per­for­mance piece cre­ated in re-

sponse to Maya Kr­ishna Rao’s The

Walk, crafted after the 2012 rape and murder of 23-year-old Jy­oti Singh Pandey by six men on a Delhi bus. Walk is a South African re­sponse fo­cused on the gang-rape and murder of teenager Anene Booy­sen.

Gabrielle Go­liath has pre­sented el­egy per­for­mances in var­i­ous parts of the world, and will be pre­sent­ing the Eastern Cape pre­miere of the work at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val.


Gath­er­ing Strands is a ret­ro­spec­tive ex­hi­bi­tion of works by Lionel Davis, artist, ed­u­ca­tor, anti-apartheid ac­tivist, po­lit­i­cal pris­oner and for­mer Dis­trict Six res­i­dent.

The ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brates four decades of his ac­tivism and cre­ative pro­duc­tion.

Ubuntu – I am Be­cause You Are: A Search for Ubuntu with Per­mis­sion to Dream cu­rated by Usha See­jarim draws on works from Stan­dard Bank’s cor­po­rate col­lec­tion.

DU30: 3 Decades of Dance Um­brella com­mem­o­rates 30 years of the Dance Um­brella with pho­tographs by John Hogg and Suzy Bern­stein.

War­riors, Com­rades and Volk­staat Kom­man­dos is a ret­ro­spec­tive of work by South African pho­to­jour­nal­ist TJ Lemon.

Dog­house from Dan­ish com­pany Makropol in­vites a lim­ited num­ber of peo­ple to wear VR head­sets and at­tend a vir­tual din­ner party. MU­SIC To­gether with the Stan­dard Bank Jazz Fes­ti­val, the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val presents Afropo­ets fea­tur­ing Ur­ban Vil­lage – folk mu­sic lay­ered with elec­tric, funk and tra­di­tional in­flu­ences. They will be joined by The Brother Moves On, a South African per­for­mance art en­sem­ble, and the new face of Afro-Folk, Bongeziwe Ma­bandla.

In­ter­na­tional singer and song­writer Suzanne Vega and Bay jazz diva Amanda Black will also per­form.

The Gala Con­cert on July 1 will be per­formed by the Eastern Cape Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra, con­ducted by Richard Cock, who also present the Chil­dren’s Con­cert ear­lier on the same day.

Zanta Hofmeyr (vi­olin), Su­san Mou­ton (cello) and Mal­colm Nay (pi­ano) are The Wits Trio Plays Schu­bert.

Mahube fea­tures the criss­cross rhythms of Malawi and Zim­babwe and the choral splen­dour of the south with Steve Dyer and Bokani Dyer hav­ing as­sem­bled an en­sem­ble of 10 award-win­ning mu­si­cians. THEATRE Jungfrau is the lat­est di­rec­to­rial work from 2016 Stan­dard Bank Young Artist for Theatre Jade Bow­ers. Based on the novel by Caine Prize-win­ning South African writer Mary Wat­son, the book has been adapted for the stage by Ameera Pa­tel, who also takes a lead role.

UJ Arts & Cul­ture will present its ren­di­tion of Reza de Wet’s iconic African Gothic (trans­la­tion of Diepe­grond).

Phillip Rade­meyer di­rects Mon­sieur Ibrahim en die Blomme van die Ko­ran, a heart-warm­ing retelling of the book by Eric Em­manuel-Sch­mitt in which a Turk­ish Mus­lim liv­ing in Paris takes a Jewish boy un­der his wing.

Cana­dian Alon Nash­man re­turns to Gra­ham­stown with Alphonse, which the BBC has called an “un­miss­able show of ge­nius for all ages”.

An­other Fam­ily Fare show on the main pro­gramme is The Lit­tle Prince.

Com­edy fans will be thrilled with The Most Amaz­ing Show fea­tur­ing goofy Corne and Twakkie played by Louw Ven­ter and Rob van Vu­uren re­spec­tively.

From Cape Town comes Mh­languli Ge­orge’s Theatre in the Back­yard with a dou­ble bill of Is He Mad? and Wait . . . Linda.

Swiss au­thor and di­rec­tor Boris Nik­itin rewrites Ham­let into a mix of ex­per­i­men­tal doc­u­men­tary play and mu­sic theatre.

DANCE DUEL: The bal­let ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a high­light on the Main pro­gramme, with this scene show­ing the death of Mer­cu­tio with Romeo and Ty­balt


PER­FOR­MANCE ART: Steven Co­hen in ‘put your heart un­der your feet . . . and walk/ To Elu’


VIR­TUAL RE­AL­ITY: The Dog­house from Dan­ish com­pany Makropol in­vites a lim­ited num­ber of peo­ple to wear VR head­sets and at­tend a vir­tual din­ner party

THEATRE FUN: Alon Nash­man in ‘Alphonse’ on the Main pro­gramme

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