I have just come back from a preview performance of Stone Words before it goes off to G’town. It’s one of The Cape Town Edge’s offerings at the fest this year. Stone Words is a collection of poems, written and performed by Khadija Tracey Heeger, who is accompanied by Glen Arendse on percussion (of all kinds) and Linda Tshabalala on sax (mainly), directed by Jaqueline Dommisse.
What a lovely gem (‘scuse the pun!) of a show. Khadija’s poems are extraordinary and they are varied too, covering a range of emotions, topics, styles and forms. They are in turn clever, funny, poignant, sensual, harsh and and moving. And Khadija performs them brilliantly.
Jaqueline’s direction is so strong, courageous and deft that she weaves a tapestry of light and dark with precision and minute detail. Even though you are watching and listening to a bunch of poems it feels like you are listening to a whole album; one that has themes, moods and cycles. The set and costumes are fantastic and evocative, and beautiful to look at.
Then there are the musicians who support the poems and create their universe so originally. My favourites were the traditional one string mouth bows and the laughing string can. Towards the end of the show there was some delicious interaction with them and Khadija. I think there could be more; they are so engaging and interesting. They mostly are the score but sometimes they are like a table of sound effects for specific words, which is a delight. And sometimes very funny.
I was expecting a precious (even slightly up its arse, you know how poetry can get) show and it absolutely wasn’t. Not once. It was an inspirational, engaging time and will be for anyone who loves good words and sounds.