More physical theatre, more South African storytelling, more excellent work by Lara Foot-Newton.
Lara Foot-Newton returns to Fest this year with another great piece. Having recently studied her work Tshepang, I can see a lot of similarities in the story-telling style, the symbolism and the setting. This piece deals with the story of Thozama, a young girl in a small town in the Karoo, where power often lies in the hands of unemployed, violent men, reduced to violence by a social system which has degenerated them into statistics related to rape and murder.
Into this vivid and realistic setting, arrives a moose, which poses a surreal but nonetheless serious threat to the small community. It seems almost inevitable for the rage and suppression of the community to end up in the killing of the moose, spearheaded by Thozama herself. She stands as the representative of the many victims our unbalanced society has created, and yet she is also exemplary of the possibility of renewal and progress. Although she leaves behind her a community still stuck in poverty and violence, she at least manages to escape. In some ways she is like an older version of the baby girl Tshepang, whose name, of course, means salvation, or hope.
I think this was definitely one of the best pieces I’ve seen thus far – everything was meticulously crafted, the casting was excellent, and the acting (most characters played more than one role, and jumped between acting and narrating directly to the audience) was gripping and heartstopping. And despite the heavy tragedy of the story, there was so much humour, and so much hope. This is the kind of theatre that helps us live on, challenging our apathy towards sociopolitical injustice, and offering us laughter and satire as means to get us through.
Definitely going to keep an eye out for Foot-Newton’s work in future!