A genre-bending play reflects on how our past influences our present when it comes to gender-based violence and the objectification of black bodies. (more…)
Joburg Theatre hosts a play which tackles abuse through the eyes of the abuser.
Physical theatre – usually considered the preserve of fit, able-bodied actors – will give disabled actors the chance to show Witsies “how they view themselves and interpret other people’s view of them”, during March.
Mammatli Thakhuli-Nzuza, MA Applied Theatre and Drama, said this was the intention behind Am I Really, which she directed to commemorate Disability and Human Rights week.
Am I Really explores the internal voices of a group of Wits students living with different disabilities through the use of movement. The Physical Theatre piece challenges the concept of being “disabled” while highlighting the silent disabilities that exist in all of us.
Thakhuli-Nzuza explained that most disabled students were only reminded of their disability when other people treated them as disabled.
“People tip-toe around disabled people. That’s what makes them uncomfortable.”
Thakhuli-Nzuza will be working with choreographer Sthembiso Khalishwayo, a former Witsie who studied physical theatre and performance. The play will be performed by Sisipho Ntengo, Sally-Ann Bafshoe, Zinhle Nxumalo and Jermain George, all Wits students living with disability.
“Art is everywhere and anyone can do it; the different modes of self expression extend way beyond the physical boundaries we have created” said Thakhuli-Nzuza.
She wants to introduce the Wits University community to physically disabled dancers. She also wants to encourage theatre makers to go beyond the ‘ordinary’ when creating work.
Am I Really will be performed at the Wits Amphitheatre on March 15 and 16, 19 and 20 at 7.30pm. Prices are R20 for students and R30 for non-students.
For more information contact Mammatli Thakhuli-Nzuza on firstname.lastname@example.org
STUDENT Mark Tatham started his varsity career doing a BCom in Business Management. A year later, he fell in love with dance and is now completing a degree in physical theatre at the Wits School of Arts. He recently performed in the physical theatre production In The Company of Wolves which was on show during o-week.
This sports crazy student is always busy doing something whether it’s scrambling over buildings doing parkour, playing hockey or working as a DJ.
What inspired you to change to a degree in the arts?
When I was at school I was interested in performing, but when I came to university I thought I should do a BCom first and then complete a BA in Drama. After a year of studying I just couldn’t handle it and so I dropped out and started a BA in 2011.
Why become a dancer?
I always saw myself as an actor. But one day I joined the parkour club for fun, in my first year as a drama student, and I fell in love with movement. Shortly after we were allowed to take physical theatre as a course and it allowed me to do what I loved.
When did you know you wanted to perform physical theatre?
I was chosen for the lead role in the play Carrying The Fire, directed by Bailey Snyman, which was on show last year. It was my experience under his direction that really cemented my love of performance.
How do you prepare mentally for a performance?
I have found the best way for me to focus is to clear my head. I walk around in circles and try not to think of my lines or what I am supposed to do next. When I am performing I do everything on instinct.
What do you love about performance?
I love the adrenaline rush of having to give the audience a show. It’s the same reason why I play sport.
Have you had to overcome any difficulties since doing your performances?
Injuries are always a problem. I have sprained my wrist, torn ligaments in my ankle and last year I broke my thumb.
How often do you practice for a performance?
Usually a production takes one to three months of work. We will practice five times a week for about three to five hours at a time. By the time you are on stage you know all your movements backwards and don’t even think about what happens next. It just happens.
One usually associates a fairy tale, like Red Riding Hood, with a small unassuming girl who gently ambles her way through the woods on the way to grandma’s house. Unknown to the red-caped girl, she is followed by a fierce wolf who among other things intends to make a lunch for two, a dinner for one. If the wolf had to see the Wits’ theatre production In The Company of Wolves, HE would have been on the menu.
In this production, the meek girl is transformed. She is manifested though the bold manoeuvres of a set of dancers that challenge the misconceptions of feminine vulnerability.
To watch the cast effortlessly weave among each other was simply sublime. Equally sublime was the musical score which paired perfectly with the dancing style. A rhythmic ebb and flow was beautifully built up to a crescendo at the end of the 25 minute production.
From walls to backstage the cast makes use good use of the Wits Nunnery, which seems very cramped when six dancers try to perform on it.
In a weirdly uncomfortable way, the cramped feeling adds toward the play’s success. You cannot distance yourself from the action.
It’s in your face and you become more involved as a result. You are also forced to respect the level of planning and curatorship involved in manoeuvring in such a small space.
Cast member Mark Tathum said that the crew was hoping the production would be in contention for the Grahamstown Arts Festival later this year.
At a cost of R10 a ticket the show is well worth making the long walk down to the South side of East Campus. It will be on till the end of the week (8 Feb) and is only showing at 13h00.
Directed by Jason Solomon and Chanelle Sardinha In The Company of Wolves delightfully overturns an out of date nursery tale and is a must see. Book it now.
In the Company of Wolves
Venue: The Wits Nunnery, close to the Wits Theatre, East Campus
Dates: O Week, 4 – 8 February 2013
Length: 25 Minutes
Cost: R10 per person