We don’t cry during The Year of the Bicycle because it is soppy. We wail because it so damn defiant.
We know South Africa has become a shit pit. In Inkandla we see our freedom, our dreams, our Mandela memories putrifying.
Somebody obviously forgot to tell Joanna Evans and crew that that we are not meant to find each other across the policed divides.
All that Mandela stuff is propaganda for silly, imaginative romantics. Doesn’t she know that?
It’s very bad for tenders.
Yet, we love this theatre for its audacity to give the dream trashers the bird.
The children in this piece — and in real life — defy the facist hegemony; they know most fiercely what is real and meaningful to them.
Is it wrong to be constantly putting our kids right by calling them innocent and naïve when they stumble happily into our stupid, fearful, perfidious and downright venal adult world?
Our two characters are eight years old. One black, one white; a boy and a girl. They are neighbours through the fenced fate of class division in the Republic of SA/Hout Bay.
But they fight on to find each other. But they get hurt. We eat our habitat, we maim our children.
Is there is no escaping this post-democratic hell?
Let this piece of theatre go out to the world.
Let them know out there that bloodied, broken and betrayed as we may be, there is still a pulse in this darkening land.
The Year of the Bicycle, is cute and charming, blah and blah.
But I see a bunch of adventurous little critters hellbent on smashing the Stalinist code of the corrupters. In doing so, they find themselves pin-balling through a banal, sad, diabolical, messed-up adult world that is SA.
This is theatre that bellows and screeches and wrestles and shouts and pulls and punches at the walls of Inkandla.
These kids are a challenge to every one of adults us who ever lent a shoulder to keep the “democracy” lie going, to keep us blinded from the big horrible truth about where the new violence started, here and in exile.
And where it gets played out. South Africa will rape half it’s women, for starters. We have abandoned most of our youth. Where I come from, adults have stolen Mandela sandwiches and grants from hungry, starving, dying kids. The list of evil we adults do to our children in SA is so long that we have stopped weeping.
But along comes The Year of the Bicycle which is evocative, perhaps beyond it’s intentions. However, knowing that Evans comes from a struggle family, suggests that the evococation is utterly deliberate. Will have to ask her…
I’ve been hanging with my theatre and performance kids, and the talk is about work that is evocative, that reaches deeper into the chest, that transcends.
The Year of the Bicycle is saying to me that despite Zuma and his cronies, despite a disgusting brew of national-ethnic chauvinism, there are more of us who still believe in reaching across the vrotting divide to find friendship, love, fun, imagination, creativity –real emotions. Not this fake rubbish we call SA reality.
We may walk a thin red line, but perish the thought that the cleavers will win.