Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Understanding Ouroboros

Without a doubt I should have read the program before the show, but I was too busy at the #BaxterTTT (Baxter taste and tweet, for those of you who have no idea what I am on about) where I was tasting (more like chugging actually) wine, and tweeting (mainly obscure stuff to @uglibob, @_taramay, @TarrynSaunders, @AlisonFoat and @RobVanVuuren) and taking pictures of my pink boots and posting them on twitter. I should have read the program before!

If I had read the program before, I would have known that all the puppets (except for the obviously not, like the death ones, and the party ones for eg.) represented two people. If I had read the damn program before, and not after, only this morning, I would have known exactly what Ouroboros was about (including the meaning of the title, which I also guessed at), instead of having to make up my own version about what was going on. So, I should have, but I didn’t. And that’s ok.

What I experienced in Ouroboros. Magical, mystical, strange, uncomfortable, often unfathomable trip. Beautiful, magnificent, moving puppets who float in and out of the complicated story like cloud people. Strange art animation that delights and confounds. Haunting music. Moments of heartbreaking theatre beauty. Moments of hard to make sense of preciousness. Exquisite lighting. Confusing. Captivating. Breathtaking. Sad.

A whole paragraph devoted to the puppeteers. Cindy Mkaza, Jason Potgieter, Beren Belknap, Tali Cervati, Gabriel Marchand, Chuma Sopotela. Most extraordinary. Dressed in light clothes they were the opposite of disappearing puppeteers. Especially when they were together they were like a crowd of living ghost people. Sympathetic, egoless, loving, perfect puppeteers. I was in love with them. And they never spoke a word.

Director and conceptualizer and visionary Janni Younge has made a brave (and terrifying) choice. This is a deeply original show. It’s not a Neil Diamond Tribute. In a city where people go and see theatre as a matter of course, as a way of living and reflecting and being this Ouroboros would be full every night with people debating about it, and talking about it, and differing, and getting excited. I am terrified that Cape Town is not that city. My own experience is that we have more of a… Neil Diamond Tribute type audience. So I am going to beg you to see this show. I am not going to say that you will love it, but I am going to say you will have feelings about it, and some of those feelings will have to do with love. And life. And what it’s all about. Challenge yourself.

PS. The child and baby puppets are so beautiful they made me shiver and gasp with delight.

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9 Comments

  1. Thank you Megan – I’m so glad I read this before and not after. But I still think your boots made from pink snakes are way-cool.

  2. Janni Younge

    I’m glad you didn’t read the program before. You are able to trust your own interpretation and that is what art is about for me. Giving people space to look in and out from a different perspective. What you see and feel is perfect as it is.

    Of course it is also nice to understand intentions. For me they are all the same two people, even the dead guys and the baby. You can also see them as all part of just the one, the poet. But like I said it’s really not important to me that everyone comes out with the same thing. What matters is all the stuff you said Megan, that the show touched you and gave you space to reflect in. Thank you. I’m moved by your response.

    (I’m also in love with the puppeteers!!!)

  3. Beren

    Thanks, Megan… I’m so happy the show spoke to you… as I hope it speaks to others.

  4. Ricky

    The puppeteers ensemble work is a miracle. I adored the love scene, beginning in the air and descending to the bed with such gentleness. I think there must have been six puppeteers at work underneath the two lovers. Ghosts, angels, priests, whatever. Their dedication and expertise moved me so. A perfect and unforgettable theatre moment.

  5. Daisy Bang

    Can’t wait, will definitely see the show. So glad I have a few pointers to hang the dream onto. I’ll let it all waft over me and sit back and enjoy. Yay

  6. Jason

    Where did you buy your boots?

  7. megan

    Jason, on the corner of Main Rd and Roodebloem, Woodstock!

  8. Caitlin Perkins

    I have heard such amazing things about this show, and it breaks my heart that I do not live in Cape Town right now – PLEASE bring the show to Durban! You have a whole audience this side just waiting to be touched by your magic x

  9. David Donald

    Although I am Janni’s proud father, Megan, your comments on how Oroborus moved you (sans programme read!), brought a lump to my throat, as did the play – even though this was my second viewing with the first having been in Grahamstown). I might add that I was most impressed with the subtlety and effectiveness of the collaborative ‘evolutionary’ refinement of the play by Janni, Basil and Adrian – and no doubt much ‘workshopping’ with all members of the team – since the original production in Grahamstown. Just how much subtle changes in lighting, music, puppet manipulation, voice-over and backdrop can make was, I think, amazing and a tribute to everyone involved. While I am not a dramatist myself, such ‘evolutionary’ flexibility must surely be a hallmark of dramatic maturity!

    For anyone who also saw the play in Grahamstown, come and see it at the Baxter as well: you will I’m sure be as ‘gob-smacked’ as I was!

    David

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