I’m thinking about the Kalk Bay Theatre at the moment, not just because we have a nice sized house pre-booked for tonight’s TheatreSports. No, I’m thinking about the Kalk Bay Theatre and Junkie. Junkie was the best thing I saw at the Grahamstown festival. It’s Shirley Kirchmann’s latest offering. It is original, thought provoking, edgy, alternative theatre. As I said before, it’s hard-core. And it’s what theatre on the Grahamstown fringe should be. What’s difficult for a show like Junkie is, where does it go after the festival? It’s a work that deserves to and must be seen, but, let’s face it, it doesn’t exactly have mass appeal (although it is the kind of brilliant work that could develop a cult following and make Shirley quite famous as a serious actress). I am thinking about how The Kalk Bay Theatre management is brave and committed and clever. Junkie is a hard show to sell. It’s not fun. Yet, an independent, small and relatively new player on the local theatre venue scene has put its belief in a show that is not a crowd pleaser. What this means (however scary it must be financially) is that the Kalk Bay Theatre develops huge cred as a venue to be taken seriously. And I really appreciate it.
Too many ‘independent’ venues have pandered to what they think an audience wants, becoming more and more main stream; with trite comedy, and tribute shows, and ‘reviews’. Actors and performers are contracted and paid poorly to be The Beatles, ABBA and Neil Diamond. They are discouraged from doing their own original work.
So, Junkie is a risk. But it is so unsettlingly good. If you were undecided, decide to go and see it. Support local, original theatre in a venue that actually gives a damn.