| Make This Motion Count |

Craig Morris in Blood Theatre | image from http://www.nytheatre-wire.com

Two things I like:
-physical theatre
-Greig Coetzee

Put the two together, centred around a gifted performer by the name of Craig Morris, stir them into a South African autobiographical novel by Troy Blacklaws, and out comes Blood Orange.

The story deals with Troy, whose life is portrayed by the character of Gecko, and his upbringing during Apartheid. Morris manages to capture both the sweet-sour moments of childhood and adolescence, as well as the more large-scale cringe-worthy details of Apartheid. One of my favourite parts was when he imitated the callous, pompous school principal who whips Gecko with a cane, for his ‘liberal thinking’. I think a lot of South Africans can relate to these kinds of stories, and it’s also great for kids of my generation, who (I hope) weren’t whipped at school for not being racist, to see that there has been some progress, after all. Blood Orange reminds us to be less bitter, I reckon.

While I really enjoyed the story, the use of Zulu as well as English, and the clever use of tyres as the only prop on stage, I found a lot of the phys theatre to be quite predictable. Having worked on Stilted for two years, and having been in the Rhodes Drama Dept for three, I’ve become quite acquainted with typical phys theatre ‘acts’… kind of like in the circus, the juggler or the trapeze acts become a ”standard”. In my opinion, while Morris is a really talented and well-trained performer, he didn’t seem very original in this piece.

Let’s hope I don’t get shot for saying this, but I reckon Morris could really have pushed himself more. It was still a great piece, but if I had to compare it to other physical theatre pieces, which I do, it wouldn’t stand out as unique or incomparable.


Comments on: "Blood Orange | National Arts Fest | Review" (3)

  1. […] having worked on Stilted and having watched Blood Orange, I thought that the physicality in Breed could have been more original, could have taken bigger […]

  2. Hey Marty!

    cool blog! but have to object about the whole craig morris thing! being an old rhodian and having followed craig since he studied there, i’d have to say i disagree!
    firstly, remember that Blood Orange is about 5 years old already! and it’s still an amazing piece of theatre to watch…I’m a big fan (as you may have noticed by now!)I’d even go so far as to say that a lot of the physical theatre tricks you’re referring to were things that were pioneered by the founder members of…um…the First Physical bunch…which, if I’m not mistaken craig was a part of…
    …please take this all with a pinch of salt (it’s all coming from an old Journalism major!)…but I think we also need to be wary of using innovation as the benchmark for good theatre, sometimes a good piece of theatre can be presented in a classical way, it doesn’t always have to have the latest special effects or wow factor to be good…although I believe Blood Orange will be a timeless piece…

    anyhoo, that’s my bit…saw Blood Orange this fest again and loved it! Craig rocks and I hope he’ll perform his shows oversas so all my collegues over here can get a taste for some high quality safrican theatre! YEAH!


    • Hey Bruce! Sorry for such a delayed reply – I’ve actually been doing research on Greig Coetzee, because I will be directing an extract of his “Happy Natives” for my end of year drama exam.

      I definitely agree with you that theatre doesn’t have to innovate in order to be good or enjoyable, but I think from someone who is evidently a professional, such as Craig Morris, it’s good to see progress and innovation sometimes. If Craig has been doing this work for many years, I should hope that he isn’t just recycling the same acts and routines, but that he is also developing fresh-er (is that a word?:P) forms of phys theatre.

      I’m not sure who the founding parents of FPTC were, but I see what you’re saying – if Morris was one of them, it’s definitely likely that the style currently displayed by Rhodes graduates was influenced by him, rather than the other way around. So thanks for pointing that out!

      I hope you didn’t get me wrong, I still loved Blood Orange, and I hope to see more from Craig Morris in the future, perhaps in a show which pushes even more physical and theatrical boundaries 🙂

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