ELLEN HEYDENRYCH: On Saturday 26 July, the closing night of its Grahamstown run, the Rhodes University theatre production Solo was in high demand. Rhodes University’s Box Theatre filled to capacity, with many audience members sitting on the steps and floor to be a part of what many have been calling a theatre masterpiece.
Devised and directed by Masters student Hannah Lax, Solo has been the talk of the town since it debuted at the National Arts Festival earlier this month. Evocative, poignant and heart-wrenching, the piece deals with life, death and the in-between. By telling the story of a mother who loses her daughter to the ocean, Lax’s work explores what it is to be engulfed by waves of grief and mourning.
TIISETSO TSOSANE: While everybody was getting ready for a fresh semester TuksDance was preparing to present Life of an Artist at the 2014 Krêkvars Festival.
On 24 and 26 July TuksDance presented an outstanding performance at Masker Theatre. Life of an Artist is a performance in which an artist’s thoughts are expressed through different dances.
MICHAL-MARÉ LINDEN: Tuks Camerata were announced as the winners of the Mixed Youth Choir category at the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia on 12 July. The choir achieved a mark of 95.25% to claim first place in their category. Tuks Camerata also placed second in the Scenic Folklore category with a difference of 1% between themselves and the winners, the Student Choir of Nankai University in China. The World Choir Games is a bi-annual event which is now in its eighth year. The competition sees approximately 2 700 participants in 460 choirs from 73 different countries taking part.
Tuks Camerata weren’t avaliable for comment on their achievement.
LIZL LOMBAARD: Krêkvars 2014 marks the start of a new direction for the student arts festival. Hosted annually by the UP drama department, Krêkvars is a platform for theatre students and other theatre practitioners to showcase their art. It isn’t limited to traditional drama but also gives artists a chance to present experimental work.
The shows this year dealt with a wide variety of themes including gender, religion, race and romantic relationships. A wide variety of genres including drama, comedy, musicals, children’s theatre, physical theatre and dance were also presented.
CHRISTINA SCHILD: The Great Field has been closed off and exams forgotten; the National Arts Festival is just around the corner. Being the 40th year anniversary, the official programme may be bursting, but there is equally as much on offer in terms of the ‘town’ programme. From classic comedic acts to face-melting music, be prepared to go big this year.
Here is a personal run-down of our recommended events and the best of Fest.
MICHAL-MARÉ LINDEN: Curlitiza and Sonop took first place at this year’s Serrie finals. The finals were held on 19 May and residences performed for judges in both the Amphitheatre and Aula.
Six men’s and six ladies’ residences took part in the final but it was Curlitzia with their lifeguard theme and Sonop, who presented a unique 1900s Bohemian Paris-themed performance, that beat out the competition.
ELLEN HEYDENRYCH: Rhodes alumnus and winner of the 2007 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance Acty Tang is back at Rhodes with his new physical theatre piece, Hunger. This highly energetic work explores the themes of power and oppression and seeks to tell a political story through the language of dance.
Under Tang’s direction,the piece was produced by the First Physical Theatre Company (FPTC) and Rhodes University Drama Department. The performance included a diverse cast of performers from first-year level to full-time members of the FPTC and used an eclectic mix of vibrant dancing, rock music and gospel.
Jena Ascough: Fairy-tale and nursery rhymes are notoriously morbid, filled with abusive mothers (and stepmothers), cannibal witches who live in candy cottages, grandmother-eating wolves and, my personal nightmare, a creep named Wee Willy Winky who runs around knocking on children’s bedroom windows in the dead of night to tell them to go to sleep.
David Mann: The Rhodes Drama Department’s annual Theatre In Motion event was cancelled tonight due to heavy rains flooding the main theatre and damaging electrical equipment.
According to Theatre Administrator Robert Haxton, the consistent heavy rains throughout the afternoon and early evening caused water to enter the main theatre.