National Arts Festival 2022: Eight shows to expect in Makhanda [photos]

National Arts Festival 2022: Eight shows to expect in Makhanda [photos]

The 2022 National Arts Festival is set to kick off in Makhanda, Eastern Cape on Thursday 23 June. There will be stories of turbulence, healing and triumph in this year’s programme. National Arts Festival artistic director, Rucera Seethal says audiences can expect “catharsis, drama, beauty, humour and fascinating storytelling” woven through the programme.

Take a look at eight shows you can expect to see in Mkhanda this year.

HAMLET’

Janni Younge will be putting her rendition of a Shakespeare classic, Hamlet. The deep conflicts of the play’s central character receives powerful contemporary treatment through life-sized puppets. The costumes are simple, humble but almost spectral as they float around the puppets.

National Arts Festival
A scene from ‘Hamlet’. Photographer: Bronwyn Lloyd

‘THE FIRE EATER’

Standard Bank Young Artist winner 2011, Neil Coppen and actress Mpume Mthombeni teamed up to present the “one-woman tour de force”, Isidlamlilo! (The Fire Eater). This play has elements of Zulu folklore, biblical mythology, magical-realist framings of South African humour and pathos.

Coppen and Mthombeni have worked closely together for the past 15 years, taking their work across the country and abroad.

Natinal Arts Festival
Mpume Mthombeni in ‘Isidlamlilo’! (‘The Fire Eater’). Image: Supplied

‘KAMPHOER – DIE VERHAAL VAN SUSAN NELL’

2022 Fleur de Cap Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Sandra Prinsloo, returns to the National Arts Festival in Kamphoer – die verhaal van Susan Nell. Directed by Lara Foot, the play is based on a true story and follows Susan Nell, a woman who suffered an unspeakable ordeal during the Anglo-Boer War.

After her father’s death during the war, Susan ends up in the Winburg concentration camp where she is raped and left for dead. After surviving, she finds herself working at a military hospital in England where she recognises a patient as one of her rapists.

National Arts Festival
Sandra Prinsloo in ‘Kamphoer – die verhaal van Susan Nell’. Image: Supplied

‘IYEZA’

Buhlebezwe Siwani’s Iyeza is a deep exploration of the healing power plants have, especially at a moment when people across the globe are reconsidering their relationships with the plant world.

Siwani’s own journey to heeding her ancestral calling of ubungoma, the ancient African healing tradition, runs parallel to this piece.

National Arts Festival
A look at ‘Iyeza’. Image: Supplied Photographer: Lauren Theunissen

‘SEVEN WAYS TO SAY GOODBYE’

Seven Ways to Say Goodbye by the Flatfoot Dance Company was choreographed by Lilane Loots. Birthed shortly after the violence and looting in KwaZulu-Natal, Loots takes eight dances through a journey that asks them (and the audience) to confront the sticky and sometimes porous relationship we have.

Seven Ways to Say Goodbye is a celebration of all that is sacred and beautiful.

National Arts Festival
A look at ‘Seven Ways to Say Goodbye’. Image: Supplied. Photographer: Val Adamson

‘INGODUKO’

Cape Town-born musician Thandeka Mfinyongo presents Ingoduko, a musical work that gives “voice” to the Xhosa indigenous instruments, uhadi and umrhubhe. The music of the two bows creates a platform for the participation, performance and consumption of indigenous music.

National Arts Festival
Thandeka Mfinyongo in ‘Ingoduko’. Image: Supplied Photographer: Vuyo Giba

‘THE SABBATH’

The Sabbath is a series of compositions written for a string quartet by jazz singer, Gabi Motuba. Created in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a personal project for Motuba.

The play attempts to think through a violent past and the complexities of present encounters and seeks to be a sanctuary for those coming to terms with a tragedy.

National Arts Festival
Gabi Motuba in ‘The Sabbath’. Image: Supplied. Photographer: Mvelo Mahlangu

DEUS::EX::MACHINA’

Created by Louise Coetzer with interactive design by Thingking, deus::ex::machina is a multiplayer game that invites viewers to meet online or in real life. The play features music from Standard Bank Young Artist, Carey Stacey among several others.

The shared experience of simulated connection is driven by the viewer, who controls dancers in the piece in a real-time voting process, ultimately deciding a unique outcome for each performance as it unfolds live.

National Arts Festival
Darkroom Contemporary performs ‘deus:: ex:: machina’. Image: Supplied Photographer: Oscar O Ryan

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