It’s the beginning of Spring and the arts are taking a leap of faith as three of our Afrikaans festivals launch theatrical and cultural fests which offer a smorgasbord of theatre, art, books, dance, music and conversations as light or intense as you could wish for. DIANE DE BEER gives you a roadmap (in three sections) beginning with AARDKLOP:
It’s time to catch some theatre with the Aardklop gang as they gather their artists with plays and music to entertain the Gauteng crowd deprived of regular live theatre and song.
There’s something old, something new, something for the young – and even something for those of us who too often feel blue.
Running from September 28 to October 3, it will be presented at Atterbury Theatre, the Voortrekker Monument and Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool.
Theatre is chosen with care to appeal to a wide range of expectations, with Sandra Prinsloo, Marion Holm, and Dawid Minnaar all returning with old favourites.
Prinsloo tells the heart-wrenching story of Oskar en die pienk tannie, which showcases the relationship between a carer and her young ward who is dealing with his own trauma.
It is magically written and performed.
Minnaar also takes a look at an unusual friendship in Monsieur Ibrahim en die blomme van die koran directed by Philip Rademeyer. Crossing cultural, religious and age barriers, it’s a story that is gently balanced between sentiment and sensitivity. And how we have to be open at all times to receive lessons life wants to throw at us.
Marion Holm isn’t exactly doing an old show, but she has gone scratching around and taken another look at stories she told long long ago – which might be reworked and return in dark times while shining a light on our blessings. But more than anything I know, this performer, even in these times, doesn’t know how to stop the laughter. She’s funny when she starts talking.
Frank Opperman knows how to perform solo and hold the attention. He’s back and this time he’s performing in an adaptation of Zirk van den Berg’s award-winning adult fairytale Ek Wens, Ek Wens. It could have been written with him in mind. Seb is a grey little man with a rather sad life. He’s an undertaker. Until one day when he meets an angelic child, Gawie. This magical meeting raises the question about his life and what he would wish for if he had only one chance. The book on which this solo performance is based won the WA Hofmeyer Prize as well as the kykNET-Rapport prize. And then for those double pairs:
First there’s Brendon Daniels and Deon Lotz in Kamp, which is perfect festival fare as they go camping and discover on their first night that they’re not quite as prepared as they should have been. No matches? And that’s only where it starts. It’s all about bonding in nature when you find yourself outside of your comfort zone. The acting combo is stunning and as the boys bond in this buddy genre, it’s much more about the fun and games than wilderness weirdness.
Brendon steps in again and this time he is partnered by the talented Tinarie van Wyk Loots in Opdrifsel, written and directed by Philip Rademeyer. A married couple is dealing with the heartache of losing a child and hope to focus on reclaiming their lives and recover from such an overwhelming tragedy.
In conclusion, Nataniël will be performing as part of the Aubade series at Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool on October 3 at 11am and 3pm as the narrator with Charl du Plessis and Megan-Geoffrey Prins (both on piano) and a chamber orchestra presewnting Karanaval van die Diere (Saint-Saëns) and Pieter en die Wolf (Prokofiev).
Both of the texts have been rewritten by Nataniël (in Afrikaans, one translated from a previous English text also written by the artist) and he underlines that while these were originally created with children in mind, neither he, his texts nor his clothes will appeal to children in any form. “No one under 15 should even consider attending,” he warns.
Spirare (meaning to breathe) is the talk show series of the festival. Here are some of the highlights:
First off, there’s an invitation to write a long WhatsApp about the Voortrekker Monument, which will be followed by a discussion lead by Kabous Meiring with guests Gielie Hoffmann, Fransjohan Pretorius and Henk van der Schyf about this still-dominant Pretoria historical site.
Meiring will also take the topic in a more general direction by looking at all monuments, statues, town, city and street names. Joining her are Prof. Anton van Vollenhoven, Lindie Koorts, Lyntjie Jaars and Danie Langner
The head honcho of Aardklop, Alexa Strachan, with guests Christo Davids, Chris van Niekerk, Deon Lotz and Brendon Daniels will focus on Festivals and discuss the accusation that they are freak shows.
Supper met die Sotte gathers some of our country’s top comedians (Schalk Bezuidenhout, Shimmy Isaacs, Rasdien and TJ Strydom) to attack everyone and anything with humour and satire.
Cornelia Faasen and her guests Dr Theuns Eloff, Lizz Meiring, and Dr Ismail Mahomed are given the title Wie Stook Watter Kool en Wie Blus die Brand. They will be looking at the responsibility of artists to stoke, stir or stroke the populace.
Municipalities are caught in the headlights with Lourensa Eckard and guests Theo Venter and Theuns Eloff talking about local government and the solutions to the current breakdown all around the country. Is it the turn of the citizenry to take control of their lives?
Political and social commentator Heindrich Wyngaard asks whether South Africans get angry about the right things? Why do they get so angry about certain topics and others they simply ignore? Should we pay attention to everything and shift our focus around? Or are we getting what we want and need?
And perhaps now is the best time to talk about swotting and whether drama is still an option. Many careers have been hard hit during the pandemic and the arts, because it is so reliant on audiences, more than most. And often artists are so busy trying to survive, they don’t have time to sharpen skills, which could see them through tough times. Tinarie Van Wyk Loots, Christo Davids and Sandra Prinsloo speak their minds.