30 June, 2012


Binwe Adebayo

The global water crisis is a topic on everyone’s lips. From the political arena to classrooms, many minds are focussed on debate and solutions to this problem. For a group of young performers from the Rhodes University Drama Department, street theatre is the platform for discussing this issue. In a showcase of quirky characters, imaginative costume design and sometimes absurd storytelling comes Hydrolunatics, a creation which uses nonsense to show the lack of common sense employed by the human race when it comes to our relationship with water.

Guided by an all seeing eye and a giant face constructed from water bottles, the cast took the audience from the top of High Street all the way through campus, closing at the bicycle statue. A crazed drunkard clutched his bottle of whiskey chanting “whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting”, whilst a water sprite of sorts bent fully head first into the koi pond. With so much to see and absorb, it was understandable that the audience- ranging from the very young to the elderly- was sometimes remise to understanding the underlying message. Although the cast did make an effort to tie the craziness together in some form of rationality, amongst all the moving and focusing on all the different characters at once, it was easy for the audience to get side-tracked along the way. Perhaps in a contained venue, this may have not been the case.

However, a valiant effort was certainly made by the cast and each character had a distinct flavour and contribution to the greater vision. For a free show staged on a small patch of grass, Hydrolunatics definitely makes a big splash.
Hydrolunatics is playing at The Drodsty Arch 

A fantastical tragedy

By Sakhi Gcina

It’s a sensory sojourn in to the imaginative, complex and sometimes fatal relationship between art and the artist. Afternoon of a Foehn’s narrative swings wildly between two worlds until the boundary becomes dangerously blurred. Does art belong to its creator or is the artist held captive by his ideas and is simply a vehicle of expression?

This performance is a part of the inaugural French Season In South Africa theatre initiative which seeks to strengthen ties between the two countries through an exchange of art and performance.

France, a country with an exceptional artistic history, is known to constantly push the limits of innovative theatre, which will enrich our shores.

Surreal visuals of brightly-coloured plastic bags are transformed by performer Cécile Briand in to dance characters of her outlandish fictional realm with the aid of wind energy from various strategically placed fans. Scientific technicality merges with the haphazard process of creativity to form a delightful performance art piece.

There is an evidently tragic and allegorical element about how humans’ destructive need to consume will be the end of our world, including us along with it throughout the entire piece. It adds a poignant layer of pathos to a luminous performance. Otherworldly sounds, interplayed with the eccentric compositions of revered French composer Claude Debussy, conjure up an image of a dark, post-apocalyptic space. The whimsical and intriguing aural atmosphere provides the impetus which drives the multi-layered narrative to a deeper level.

Creative director and choreographer, Phia Ménard, has put together an ethereal and fantastical production with magical precision.

Durban-born lyricist wows City of Saints

Natasha Phiri and Majority Rachoene 

Born and bred in Ntuzuma, Durban Siyabonga Skhakani is a talented young poet. His love for poetry started at an early age when he was still in primary school. He started taking poetry seriously in grade seven and never looked back. Despite being a poet Siya is graphic designer and owns his own graphic design company. He admits to being a quite shy guy but when he’s performing on stage he becomes a different person.
He draws his inspiration from reality show people.    

Skhakani feels that poetry in South Africa is going far but it should not be rated, he doesn’t believe in people judging people’s feeling or what they right about.

This is Siya’s third coming to National Arts Festival and he feels that every time he comes here Grahamstown has something new to offer him. He loves the street performances thinks that he can bring originality through his performances at the Fest.

You can catch Siyabonga Skhakani at the Urban lounge, at the Afro-fusion shows every day throughout the Festival.