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Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

Chatsworth: The Making of a South African Township Inspires Theatre Piece

ChatsworthChatsworth: The Making of a South African Township, edited by Ashwin Desai, Goolam Vahe, has inspired a one-woman play.

The play, entitled Chats_Worth, was written by Jayshree Parasuramen and is presented by ABH (Aryan Benevolent Homes) and The Nelson Mandela Youth Centre in association with J Zee Entertainment. It tells stories inspired by real-life events and writing from the Durban township, and aims to educate the youth and celebrate the area’s rich history.

Chats_Worth will be staged at the ABH Pattendeen Theatre from April 4 to 20. Tickets are R60 for adults, R25 for senior citizens and scholars.

“The production is being launched in Chatsworth due to its significance and the aim is to have a full house at every performance in order to spread our message,” says Parasuramen. “There is an urgent need to sponsor tickets for scholars and senior citizens. Many may never afford to see this production.

“I am currently funding this production myself and it has not been easy,” she adds. “All the help and support is much appreciated With a good run in Chatsworth, the play will certainly go on a national tour!”

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Excerpt from Bra Gib by Rolf Solberg

Bra GibUKZN Press shared an extract from Bra Gib: Father of South Africa’s Township Theatre by Rolf Solberg. This book chronicles the life of Gibson Mthuthuzeli Kente and how he changed the face of African theatre.

Read the extract which includes the first two chapters describing Kente’s upbringing and his early plays.

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Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and White Men with Weapons Tour UKZN

Greig Coetzee's February Performances in KZN

Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other PlaysAward-winning actor and writer Greig Coetzee will be touring Durban’s Catalina Theatre and Pietermaritzburg’s Hexagon Theatre in February with his two plays, Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and White Men with Weapons. Copies of the plays will be on sale at the venues before the performances.

See you there!
 

Event Details

  • Venue: Catalina Theatre, Durban, 18 Boatman’s Road
    Durban | Map
  • Dates:
    Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny: Thursday, 03 February, 8.00 PM
    Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny: Friday, 04 February, 6.00 PM
    White Men with Weapons: Friday, 04 February, 8.00 PM
    White Men With Weapons: Saturday, 05 February, 6.00 PM
    Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny: Saturday, 05 February, 8.00 PM
    Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny: Sunday, 06 February, 6.00 PM
  • To Book: www.strictlytickets.co.za
  • ~~~

  • Venue: The Hexagon Theatre, Pietermaritzburg, Scottsville
    Durban | Map
  • Dates:
    White Men with Weapons: Friday, 11 February, 7.30 PM
    Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny: Saturday, 12 February, 7.30 PM
  • To Book: Call 033 260 5537 or visit www.hexagon.ukzn.ac.za

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Chris Thurman: Theatre Classics Revived on SA Stages

Godot

Guy ButlerChris Thurman looks at trends in South African theatre, noting the resurgence of domestic and international favorites such as Zakes Mda’s And the Girls in Their Sunday Dresses and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Thurman warns that the challenge here is one of relevance – making classic stories fit present contexts. The plays do not have to be new or uniquely South African, he comments, in theatre it’s all about performance and adaptation:

At a function during Chilean activist – author Ariel Dorfman’s recent visit to SA, the ageing doyenne of SA letters Nadine Gordimer suggested that since 1994 theatre practitioners have been able to “tackle the present” more effectively than our writers.

Few would contest the assertion that the post-apartheid era has produced some wonderful plays “tackling the present”. But after the usual glut of new pieces at the National Arts Festival two months ago, there’s now a temporary dearth of original material on stages.

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Image courtesy Financial Mail


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The Shaggy Stories Dramatised for Grahamstown

Tristan Jacobs

Anton Krueger and Pravasan Pillay’s Shaggy Stories, a regular feature of A Look Away, have been translated for stage. The Shaggy Show will play at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in June, as one of the fringe events, with daily performances from 20-27 June. Directed by Roshnee Guptar, the comedy stars Zanne Solomon and Tristan Jacobs:

At last – the Shaggy Show is here! The comedy launches at the G-town Fringe, 2010. Stop reading this and go book yourself a ticket…

Six Shaggy Stories by Anton Krueger & Pravasan Pillay. Tired of tired humour? Sick of sick jokes? Had enough of desperately-trying-to-be- relevant-politically- motivated-physical-slapstick – lowest-common-denominator- type comedy? Then step right up for six carefully crafted monologues expertly delivered to amuse and delight. Get ready for a show that will strike you like a mint-scented sledgehammer: sharp and sweet and strangely appealing…

These comic shaggy dog stories cast an irreverent, ironic eye on some of the mad machinations of contemporary South African society in a show that parodies some of the more absurd situations in South Africa’s contemporary scenario.

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Image courtesy Artslink.co.za


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The Train Driver Premieres at the Fugard Theatre

Athol FugardChris ThurmanPlaywright Athol Fugard made history on the evening of the 24th of March with the world premier of his new play The Train Driver at the eponymous Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. Cultural critic Chris Thurman, author of Guy Butler: Reassessing a South African Literary Life, reports:

It’s true that the arts can flourish in poverty. The stereotype of the starving artist in a tiny garret is, however, a notion cherished only by the privileged, and perpetuated by films such as Moulin Rouge.

The reality is that few artists – actors, musicians, visual artists, even writers – could survive, let alone create, without patronage. But sponsorship of the arts is not always a priority in developing countries such as South Africa, where government funding is limited and big companies tend to regard spending on the arts as charity, not investment.

Nonetheless, usually with a little bit of start-up capital and a lot of imagination, South Africa’s artists manage to produce world-class material. Imagine the possibilities, then, when substantial sums are spent on new arts projects.

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Image courtesy Berkeley Rep


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Watch a Scene from Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny

Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other PlaysJohnny Boskak is Feeling Funny And Other Plays is collection that reflects the development of a unique contemporary voice in South African theatre: a voice which speaks to the common experience of people in South Africa and beyond it.

Here’s a synopsis of the title play:

Combine Shakespearean verse and American Rap to write a South African Natural Born Killers (using Johannesburg slang). You might come up with Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny. A love-story, a quest for faith and a car-chase that takes you across South Africa from Durban to Secunda to Hillbrow to Hell and back again. This is a darky tragicomedy about a whitey and his bubblegum, lip-gloss, double-come, kick-arse, troublesome cherry

While all of Coetzee’s work is grounded in an ability to create multi-dimensional and believable characters, the plays also indicate his interest in theatrical form and his fascination with language.

Watch a scene from Johnny Boskak to whet your appetite:

YouTube Preview Image

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Margaret von Klemperer Covers the Launch of Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other Plays

Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other PlaysGreig Coetzee’s anthology of his most popular works of theatre, Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other Plays, was launched at the recent Hilton Arts Festival. Journalist Margaret von Klemperer attended the event:

Among the events at last weekend’s Witness Hilton Arts Festival was the launch of a new book, with strong local connections. It is Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other Plays by Greig Coetzee, compiled and introduced by former head of the drama department on the Pietermaritzburg university campus Professor Hazel Barnes and published by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

Barnes spoke at a talk preceding the launch – and started by showing a photograph of a very young, curly-haired, Coetzee as a first year student among the cast of a production of the musical Salad Days. However, as she went on to explain, it has been an upward trajectory thereafter for Coetzee, both as a writer and performer.

The volume contains Johnny Boskak; White Men with Weapons which draws on Coetzee’s experiences as a conscript in the old Defence Force, where he refused to carry a weapon; Seeing Red with its roots in his university days in the 1980s; Coetzee’s own favourite, The Blue Period of Milton van der Spuy; Breasts – a Play about Men; Look Out which was developed during Coetzee’s Writer’s Residency at the University of KZN and Happy Natives.

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Catch Greig Coetzee at the Hilton Arts Festival

Hilton Arts FestivalJohnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other PlaysThe playwright and actor Greig Coetzee, who has just released his Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other Plays, will be performing no fewer than THREE of the plays included in the book at the upcoming Hilton Arts Festival:

White Men with Weapons (Friday, 18th September at 17h00)
Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny (Saturday, 19th September at 10h00)
The Blue Period of Milton van der Spuy (Sunday, 20th September at 12h00)

IN ADDITION TO THIS …

On the ‘Talkfest’ Programme, don’t miss FROM WHITE MEN TO JOHNNY BOSKAK, an anecdotal hour with Hazel Barnes and Greig Coetzee covering Coetzee’s theatre journey from 1985 onward – from the Hexagon Theatre (in Pietermaritzburg) to New York and back. Immediately thereafte, Coetzee’s book will be on sale – and available for signings – at a cocktail party.

This is scheduled for Saturday 19th September at 17h00 in the Raymond Slater Library and is FREE – the idea is for people to buy his book!

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Greig Coetzee’s Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other Plays

Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny and Other PlaysGreig Coetzee This collection of Greig Coetzee’s plays reflects the development of a unique contemporary voice in South African theatre: a voice which speaks to the common experience of people in South Africa and beyond it. While all of Coetzee’s work is grounded in an ability to create multi-dimensional and believable characters, the plays also indicate his interest in theatrical form and his fascination with language.

The anthology includes: Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny; White Men with Weapons; Seeing Red; The Blue Period of Milton van der Spuy; Breasts: a play about men; Look Out; and Happy Natives.

About the author

Greig Coetzee has been active as a writer, director and performer and received numerous South African and international accolades for his work, including the Scotsman Fringe First Award for innovation in theatre and outstanding new production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2000 and 2006, and being named SA Playwright of the Year by the National Vita Awards 1997. Aside from his stage plays he also writes for TV and radio, both in South Africa and the UK. He was born and grew up in KwaZulu-Natal and is currently based in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

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