Cape Town’s cultural scene is evolving, offering a rather interesting, sometimes unexpected, mix of professional and amateur performances. Surprisingly enough, under the same roof, on the same night, one might find anything from a super-production to a rather disturbingly poor performance. It is not an easy task to find out prior to a show what it will lead you to: pure euphoria or staggering disappointment. Reading what the play is about might help. Buying the programme can give you some direction. But the best way to find out is always to buy a ticket and experience it. And at the end, make up your own opinion. Because some plays, no matter how descriptive the programme is, no matter how strong the PR is that backs them up, are indescribable. They have to be seen, heard and felt.
“Ouroboros” is one of those performances. It is an unconventional play, “structured across space and time, across interior and exterior landscapes. Lets the images and stories make connections and trust your own interpretation,” explains director Janni Younge. “This is the beginning. Almost anything can happen. Land, the first word of ‘Paradise Lost’ on an empty page. Think of an egg, the letter ‘A’, a woman ironing on a bare stage as the heavy curtain rises. This is the very beginning.”
This is the very beginning of a journey into a parallel world, where puppets talk and fishes fly. This is the very beginning of an unconventional play, where hearts hide in suitcases and death rows in an aerial bark.
The play is the love story between a poet and a dancer, based on the words of Billy Collins, a contemporary American poet. It is ultimately a ballet of puppets floating over the audience, with human hands, feet and souls holding them like precious divinities. The care and attention given to each puppet is heartening. The flow of bodies moving under each character is a silent performance, dragging the audience into a parallel world where nothing seems real and palpable.
The facial expressions of the puppets are perturbing. Your mind tells you the features are motionless yet your eyes see frowns, pouts, glowers, blinks and smiles. How does the magic happen? How can fixed faces look at you in all their glorious static paper shapes, a few meters away and express feelings to the point where you see them? The secret may lie in a “rigor in the movement and gesture” as stated by puppeteer Basil Jones, which will have the audience sense even the most imperceptible motion of the puppet. It may also rest in the combined work of director Janni Younge, the Handspring Puppet Company, puppeteers Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, composer Neo Muyanga, light designer Mannie Manim and Mamela Nyamsa for the choreography. Plus an impeccable cast of puppeteers, carrying the play in the palms of their hands.
The power of the performance lies in its ability to make one dream, let go of reasonable thinking and usual plots. It is a dive into a poetic world of words and moves, ideas and feelings thrown into the air, requiring everyone’s willing imagination. And if you do let go, if you embark, there is a good chance you will enjoy the journey. And remember it for a long time. “Ouroboros” will be remembered. DM
“Ouroboros” runs at the Baxter Theatre from 1 to 11 June with ticket prices from R60 to R130 through Computicket or any Shoprite Checkers outlets countrywide.
Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!
No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.
Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.
It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.
But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.
So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.
JK Rowling is no longer a billionaire due to the amount of money she has donated to charity.