Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Someone I know is at the KKNK

Simon reported from Grahamstown a year ago, when I wasn’t there. Now he’s at the KKNK and he’ll piggy back here for a while. I love his insights. Here are his thoughts after his first day.

Came up to Oudtshoorn yesterday morning having never been to the KKNK before. Obviously I am comparing it to Grahamstown to which I have been going for 22 years odd.

One immediate likeness – the first show I ever saw at Grahamstown in 1989 was and remains perhaps the worst show I have ever seen. The first show I saw here yesterday was its equal. But more of that later. Funnily this to me is a good omen as since that inauspicious start at Grahamstown, I have seen such a lot of bloody good shows there.

So what are the first impressions? Same atmosphere – lekker. Parking is more regulated with quite a lot of designated parking areas on the fringes of the area in which the Festival actually happens and people walk in. Same swarm of informal parking attendants and outright beggars with snotty noses and pitiful expressions.  Generally though drivers quite polite [but then it is the first day !]. Of course it is quite warm and lots of people are wandering around in shorts and slip-slops – none of the coats and beanies that mark Grahamstown early mornings/late nights.  The programme is heavy on music and light on theatre whereas Grahamstown is more the other way around.

I  haven’t worked out yet where the heart of the festival is yet – there is a large area with blocked off roads that seems to be the market and somewhere near there is the Festival office and booking area but today I will find it and get a proper festival booklet etc.

Another things that I am pleased to see hasn’t died out at the KKNK [as it seems to be at Grahamstown] is people voting with their feet. The first show was “DIE KORTSTONDIGE RAKLEWE VAN ANASTASIA W” written by Marlene van Niekerk, directed by Marthinus Basson and performed by Nicole Holm and Eben Genis, both of whom I worked with in “NOAH OF CAPE TOWN”, and others.  The SANW Ouditorium holds about 400 people and was about half full when the show started.  5 minutes in the first couple left and by the time it finished 100 minutes later, more than half of the audience had got up and gone. I exaggerate not.  I stayed to see what the reaction at the end was like – lukewarm to cold by the way – and snuck out quietly avoiding Nicole and Eben in the foyer where they were serving food seemingly as part of the play – weird. The play is [I think – I am certainly not sure because it is so obscure and inaccessible] about the ills of South Africa now – violence, incompetency, corruption and inefficiency with a less than subtle hint that the old times might have been better. The programme [the one I have so far] says you will “rol van die lag” and “snak jou asem van skok” – didn’t hear one laugh or any breathy intakes.

This play has won an award at the Aardklop festival – to me that is simply a good reason not to go to Aardklop. So not a good start.

After that went to the first performance of “LONDON ROAD” [English theatre at the KKNK] – audience of about 80, no one left and standing ovation. Finished off the day sitting outside with my “LONDON ROAD” girls and others braai-ing in the mild Karoo evening. Oh and there was a glass or two of red wine.

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7 Comments

  1. Just been to London Road, and on my way to Anastasie B (with a bit of trepidation, after reading your comments!). London Road was phenomenal – kept a straight face until Tracy Chapman started playing – been “balling my eyes out” since then, could also be the wine….. The performers were amazing – how old is “Rosa” really?

    A

  2. megan

    Would you believe that Robyn who plays Rosa is in her 30s?

  3. Simon Cooper

    To be precise 37 [and I know she doesn’t mind me telling you that publicly]. Glad you enjoyed “LONDON ROAD” – interested in how you reacted to Anastasia W. Had comments here that the show is reknowned for early departures but haven’t found anyone yet prepared to say they liked it ! Go see “JANNEMAN” if you can getg a ticket – hopefully Megan will post my next comment today with the “JANNEMAN” stuff. Groete

  4. Andre Wagenaar

    Ok, saw Anastasia and loved it! Thought it was way beyond incredible. Not an easy piece to watch, but it wasn’t supposed to be. I will concede that at times it was hard to follow but even then I never felt it lacked merit or purpose.

  5. Simon Cooper

    Andre, it goes without saying that I respect your views and I admire your ability to understand the piece. It seems that this piece is one of those that will draw drastically opposing views from audiences. Die Krit [Monday April 04, page 16, published these comments from theatregoers [I quote them as they appeared in the paper] –
    “Dit is visueel stunning. Waarlik ‘n rollercoaster van emosies. Maar ek weet nie hou die ander mense nou van daii pastei kan eet nie ” – Marie Schoeman van Kaapstad
    Die akteurs was uitstekend en die choreografie is baie goed gedoen” – Nina Reinach van Kaapstad
    “Dis anders, maar briljant – Frieda Barwell van Kaapstad
    “Die stuk was waglik en vulger. Regtig vieslik dialoog. Nee wat, ek het absoluut niks daarvan gehou nie” – Ockie Hough van Port Elizabeth
    Kyk, ek is ‘n open minded teaterganger, maar hierdie ene is pure geldmors. Ek voel die feesgangers moet voor die tyd gewaatshu word. By gister middage se show het die helfte van die gehoor uitgestap. Hulle kon die land se situasie met baie meer takt uitbeeld. Dit verdien nie om op die verhoog te verskyn nie” – Johan Prins van Kaapstad.

    So Andre, we must agree to disagree it seems. Sterkte.

  6. Andre Wagenaar

    Completely agreed Simon! I think it is a piece that will never be either universally accepted or rejected. Did you see klaasvakie? If so I’d like to hear your opinion on it. It was another Basson piece, equally “wordy” though somewhat less controversial that also had audiences split. None left the performance I saw.

  7. Simon Cooper

    Hi Andre. No I didn’t see Klaasvakie – I had to come back to Cape Town on the 5th and it only started on the 6th. Will try and catch it in Cape Town.

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