By CityLife Arts Writer
The current COVID19 crisis has had devasting effect on the performing arts across the globe, and South Africa is no exception. However theatres continue to explore new ways of connecting with their audiences even during these uncertain times.
One of the major theatres in the world, the Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg has unveiled a new programme of shows that are currently taking place virtually, using new technologies.
For the next nine weeks, the Market Theatre Foundation will live stream nine productions across all its social media platforms so that no one misses out on their theatre fix. In the comfort of their homes, this will be a time for audiences to throw away their theatre etiquette book – they can sing while watching the productions, make themselves a cup coffee, eat a favourite snack and make this a family experience.
Ditshomo story time season will see award winning playwrights and choreographer’s premier their twenty-minute productions that has been filmed with high definitions cameras to create a real theatrical experience for viewers at home. The actors will sink their teeth and immerse themselves into the lives of the people in these vignettes. Award winning designers will create poetic spaces to locate the stories and the characters.
The online theatre campaign started with artists recording monologues from their homes, these were delivered by some of South Africa’s finest actors. The initiative was based on celebrating some of the rich works that the Market has produced over the years. The evolution of the #theatrewillriseagain has culminated in the Artistic Director James Ngcobo commissioning new works to take on the South African online space with a new sense of theatrical experimentation and innovation.
With theatres closed everywhere there is a very clear commitment from the Market Theatre that is the driver behind the online work that has been curated during these very dark days. The theatre thrives on telling stories that depict the diverse lives of people from all walks of life.
Ditshomo story time season kicked off with International award-winning choreographer Vincent Mantsoe’s Cut, a collaborative dance short filmthat went live from Thursday June 18, 2020. Cut articulates some of the many contradictory emotions in this disturbing times. These emotions pull us apart, but also makes us gravitate towards one another.
Creator and Director Themba Mbuli’s Dark Cell will be next on the menu from Thursday 2 July 2020. Dark Cell draws its inspiration and metaphors from imagery of political prisoners on Robben Island. This theatrical dance work uses the concept of a prison cell as a metaphor for mental imprisonment. While celebrating and commemorating South African history, the piece is also embedded in the past as a mirror of contemporary society and reflection of postcolonial interiorities.
“We are completely committed to the idea that sees us programming and staying in touch with our patrons and at the same time celebrating those who have always gifted us with stories to tell. It also presents an opportunity for our work to be accessible to global audiences. We will be releasing a new production every week from 18th of June for the next nine weeks”,says James Ngcobo, artistic director of the Market Theatre Foundation.
Audiences can enjoy these shows through the following platforms from the Thursday June 25, 2020 at 12noon: