‘Jesters’ to speak truth to power
Political satire and comedy will fill Maynardville park with laughter
MANY people are unaware that Maynardville has become a fully-fledged summer festival which includes ballet, music, comedy and the signature Maynardville event – the Shakespeare production.
The much-anticipated – starring Alan Committie – is on from February 7 to March 9.
is being produced by The Cape Town Comedy Club (based at the Waterfront) with multi-talented comic, actor and director Rob van Vuuren bookending the programme with his own set and introducing the comics. The line-up also features Dylan Skews, Phil de Lange and Reagen Allen.
At the start of the maiden season they battled for audiences. It was a new platform, but word soon got round that this was comedy with a different spin in the setting of a park in Wynberg, with the surround sound from the area – sirens (nearby police station) etc.
is not simply about trundling out comedy in the outdoors. The producers conceptualised in line with Maynardville being a classically-inspired festival. Jesters were core to Shakespeare’s work, making jibes about the status quo and mocking power-hungry protagonists.
Journeying further back to the roots of the comedy medium, in ancient Greece comedy was a popular and visceral form of theatre.
In the Athenian democracy, voters were apparently influenced by comic poets at theatres. There was no Facebook or Instagram, and it was a vital platform for influencing the masses.
People listened to the jesters and truths distilled by them. In many ways, in contemporary society, our comics speak the truth – often saying what is not being said by those in a position to speak out. Although we laugh, we listen.
In our turbulent political landscape, through satire and the popular form of stand-up, theatregoers process what’s going on. We need voice the truth.
Van Vuuren said for Maynardville, he was scripting his material with the concept of being a jester in a park setting – raging against the truth.
“Yes, it our hope and aim to make people laugh, but also to hopefully shift their perspectives and to do what the olden-day court jester was ultimately to do, which was to speak truth to power through comedy.”
The many-talented Van Vuuren (and may we add, Fleur du Cap Theatre Award-winning actor) has performed extensively at Maynardville in Shakespearean plays, and in last year’s inaugural edition of he took the mickey out of the Bard and mashed it liberally with observational comedy.
Can audiences expect another tale of comedy signifying mirth and fury?
“Absolutely! As the host, I used the opportunity to relate much of what we were doing to a Shakespearean context. I have performed in a number of Shakespeare productions at
jesters to Maynardville and it seemed appropriate to talk about the Bard within a stand-up comedy context.
“I’m busy preparing a new ‘Shakespeare monologue’ for the event right now. The setting is fantastic and it definitely works for straight stand-up, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to do some comedy that is a little more theatrical.”
As to the other comics on the bill, he added: “Being the host I will be gearing my stuff specifically to suit the theme and setting, but we didn’t want to put too much pressure on the acts to reinvent their sets for this show – we want them to bring their A-game for the show, so that’s what they will be doing. I, however, will be doing everything in my ability to gear my material to suit this particular context.
“We are going to try to repeat the winning formula from last year as much as possible. What we did last year really worked and the audience were super happy, so we want to give them more of the same.”
zcost are R100 – R150. Most Maynardville Open-Air Festival shows start at 8.15pm. Sunday Sessions (one-off shows which include opera and gospel) begin at 7.45pm.
Ticket prices for the season range from R140-R250 with concessions for schools, block bookings, students, seniors etc. Book at Computicket.
PHIL de Lange hasJestersin hand.
ROB van Vuuren will host the classically inspired comedy platform Maynardville,Jesters in the Parkat