It’s chilly today in Slaap Stad. It feels like it might have snowed on the mountains. We had to bundle up to walk the dogs in the mud. This was the view from the stoep early this morning.
Month: June 2008 (Page 1 of 3)
A well known theatre and music personality turned round to me in the interval of the opening night of Chess last night and whispered, "Is this show called Chairs?" It was a not very oblique reference to the set made up of many many chairs.
I loved seeing Chess again. I thought Gina Shmukler as Florence was even more brilliant. Brennan Holder as the Russian was masterful and David Cheevers as the arbiter was fantastic. Cito, who plays the American, was so much better this time around. I loved him too. There is no mistaking the fact that it is not a perfect script, and the subject matter is truly weird, but I think this production is very successful. The ensemble are a well-oiled machine, and there was just one fella who was a bit unfocussed last night. I heard the inside story about why and it all made sense. That’s what happens when you have friends in high places, like fabulous Cara, the sound operator guru.
Cape Town audiences are a funny bunch, especially on opening night, and are even more critical when the production is a Jozi import. Maybe this is a visa versa thing? Are Jozi audiences ungenerous to Cape Town shows? Tell me quick, before the beautiful Shez Sharon goes to the Old Mutual Theatre on The Square in Sandton in October.
But back to Chess, or Cheers! which is what happened at the after party upstairs at Theatre on the Bay. Amababalas for me this morning!
So I’m not going to G’town, but there’s still TheatreSports to make me very happy! Two great shows again this week! Monday’s show was a blast. A delightful audience witnessed a weird cow milking/wrestling costume designer family drama in the barn. Then there was the ‘shared memory story’ by Tandi and E about the hard and horrible winter holiday they had when they ate the Holy Yak. There was also the ‘stage directions’ horror where all things weird happened in grandmother’s house with a spiral staircase. We ended off with the most bizarre cabaret which brought the house down. You needed to be there.
Last night’s show was also total fun. We started with a fabulously bizarre ‘Long Chain Murder’. Other highlights included a ‘two chairs’ with Nicholas and I which took place on a Lear jet, a ‘film roll back’ Western which had the most unexpected cross referencing and religious undertones, and a ‘house genre’ end game which was absolutely riotous and totally convoluted and hilarious. There were children in the audience, so naturally I swore, even though we hardly ever do. And there was a minister and his wife in the house and of course there were borderline blasphemous moments. It’s always like that.
Tonight Big Friendly and I are off to the official opening of Chess. I saw it in Jozi and I’m keen to see it again; not only because my very famous and talented shvester-in-law is the lead, but also because I really smaaked it. I was surprised to see how little Zane Henry liked it though. Our tastes are differing Zane!
You have no idea how hard it is to write this particular post. I am sure you have guessed by now that I am not going to Grahamstown this year for the festival, and I have such radical mixed feelings about it, now that everyone is getting ready to go. I haven’t managed to go to the fest two years in a row for many years so it makes sense that this is my year off, and I am 100% sure I will go next year (I have a few fingers in a few pies), but there are those pangs. I can’t explain them. They are part jealousy, part longing, part fantasy, part habit, on the good side. Then on the other side there is the relief at missing the anxiety, exhaustion, desperation, cold and bone numbing slaving.
I was way overloaded last year and I definitely burned out, so imagine how Rob van Vuuren is going to feel. His production company Juju Productions is connected with 11 productions this year, and Rob himself is performing in three, I think! Insanity. I am sad that TheatreSports is not there this year. We performed at the last two fests and did really well, but it’s very expensive to take without sponsorship and we couldn’t manage it this year.
There are a couple of things I would have loved to have seen this year. There are more than a few that will come and have runs in Cape Town later in the year, so I’ll get to see them anyway. And I have never been to the festival as a spectator. I think that would truly drive me nuts.
So here I am, brooding, jealous, grumpy and more than a lot relieved: Secretly hoping this year’s festival won’t be the best by far!
Big Friendly, Big Friends and I went to The Baxter tonight to see Mummenschanz 3×11. The first really good thing was that The Baxter complex was buzzing and full.It was a cold, wet Cape Town winter evening, and yet crowds had come to the theatre! There IS an audience out there!
Mummenschanz 3×11 is an absolute delight. The show brings pure magic back into the theatre and pushes the boundaries of visual and physical performance. It is made up of a series of short ‘scenes’ performed by different characters and personalities, none of whom are human. There are stick creatures, line face people, giant blobs, toilet paper heads, slinkies, pet rocks, blow in and out heads, stretch faces, cardboard box creatures and many more. There is no sound or music. Not a word is spoken and yet the personalities and characters and their emotions are crystal clear. The humour transcends all language, cultural or any other division. Laughter rippled and grew. Children laughed, adults giggled and guffawed. I can’t remember when last I felt part of a truly appreciative and delighted audience.
Big Friendly fell in love with tube face and slinky. I loved line heads the best. And we were all struck with awe and honour when the four magnificent performers (you can’t believe there are only four of them) took their bows and we saw them for the first time. The cast are way into their sixties. I am a huge fan of local theatre, but here is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this world famous, class act. Don’t miss it. And take the kids; it will blow their minds.
I get a daily newsletter from P.E.T.S, an amazing charity organisation, operating here in the Western Cape in the Somerset West area. Their primary concern is the feeding, sterilisation and housing of township animals. Only desperate, abandoned and abused dogs and cats are rescued, fostered and re-homed. They do an amazing job and I have recommended them to many people considering adopting an animal. But today’s newsletter made me think. Then I started frothing. Now I am in a total rage.
It has been brought to my attention that people leaving the country are leaving plans for their animals to the last minute and then contacting P.E.T.S with the threat that new homes need to be found for the animals within days or else the owners will have no choice but to put them down. Can you believe it? Obviously the P.E.T.S people are caught in a terrible catch 22. It is not the poor pet’s fault. And they will take on any animal in need. But what a cheek to take advantage of this organisation. Sies and double sies! I mean, if you are organising to go and live in another country surely the first thing you do is to make plans for your dependants? You must have money, education, IQ, EQ, and all that it takes to coordinate a big thing like that. AAaaarrrrggghhh!