So Fest 2010 has begun – among throngs of flag-bearing street vendors, vuvuzela-blowers, and the eternal mangey donkeys of Grahamstown.
My first show this year was New Voices, an annual showcase by the First Physical Theatre Company, the resident company here at Rhodes Uni. Each piece thus featured or was choreographed by some of my Drama Dept classmates, and definitely had a distinct Rhodes feel. Especially Krastin and Joseph’s pieces – with their strong Butoh influence, the depiction of a state of mind rather than a narrative, and the ability to make incredibly tiny gestures speak volumes – seem to contain the hallmarks of Rhodes choreography. I’m going to put on my bold face here and admit that as much as I found both these pieces interesting, half the time I had no clue what the fonk was going on. Sometimes a little more narrative doesn’t hurt.
I was completely bowled over by the First Physical Youth Company’s piece. These kids are shorter than me – which can’t make them older than 13 or so. They danced as a unit but also had solo parts, and there was just such a great vibe among them. These are people who love what they are doing and are (I hope) doing it purely because they love it. Really hope to see them come through the ranks when they one day reach Rhodes.
Finally, after days of jamming to Die Antwoord, I got to hear Max Normal as the soundtrack to Dani Bowler and Nicole Theunissen’s piece. That in itself got me excited. The piece deals with the stereotyping of the “coloured” identity. It was like a much cooler version of my African Lit lectures. Except instead of a balding hippy with John Lennon glasses, the lecturer was the ever so diva-licious Dani, telling us she’s “a bit of a rara coloured”. When she googles herself in a few days, she’ll probably find this post and start patting herself on the back, because I really think her works always have a distinct Dani feel, and she’s tapping into issues and angles that need more enquiry. Which I think is cool. Mia, Tracy, Jet, Nicole – you all move like gods and goddesses, and I sat in the front row beaming, thinking, flip, these are my classmates.
All photos taken from Cue Pix (http://cuepix.ru.ac.za/)