For the first time in 20 years, I will be going to the National Arts Festival, rather than Naf coming to me.
Life is apocalyptic, crazy and torn with unspeakable acts, like chomping phallic sweet potatoes in anger. Piet se Optelgoed (Kingswood Theatre, Friday 4th and Saturday 5th) is physical theatre and clowning of the darkest type. It’s a nightmare shot through with exquisite rays of humour. Existence is brutal, filthy, but not short on plastic; acres
Greek tragedy for an East London oke can feel daunting, so it brings relief when the playwright-director tells you at the end of his show to take what you want. But this is the 40th National Arts Festival where strange and marvellous things happen; the post-performance audience discussion with Standard Bank young artist award winner
Undermined got a standing ovation and the youth, who made up most of the audience, chattered excitedly all the way out the gate of the Princess Alice Hall. A comic-book styled African story about Jim comes to Jo’burg to become a miner (actually a Mozambican peasant) could feel odd without a single reference to the
The short of it: In 20 years of democracy, government has moved from crass panning of the the festival, to enthusiastically claiming it as their own to Wednesday’s encouraging position when incoming Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa seemed to get right inside the festival and acknowledge the struggle, role and power of artists