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CONTEMPORARY THEATRE READINGS (article first published : 2005-11-13)

NLDTF/PANSA Festival of Contemporary Theatre Readings 2005 is well underway at The Catalina Theatre, Wilsonís Wharf in Durban with a further two plays to be presented tomorrow.

Today it was Mike van Graanís Mixed Metaphors directed by Jaco Bouwer. The two-hander featured strong performances from Oscar Petersen and Ndoni Khanyile. As with all three play readings, a discussion followed when the jurors Veronica Baxter, Edmund Mhlongo and Tamar Meskin discussed their initial reactions to the play and their response to todayís reading.

As with all the readings, the plays are works in progress and, as always, Mike van Graan pulls no punches in his piece which focuses on slam poetry. The protest message is still strong, eleven years on from democracy and Mikeís incisive writing slams issues such as governmentís handling of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, crime, violence against women , corruption, quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe Ö and the status of performing arts in South Africa.

At present, Mixed Metaphors is too static to hold audiencesí attention for its full duration but both playwright and director affirm that this aspect is being developed. When they complete their restructuring, this will be a very strong piece of theatre. There is a possibility that it will be presented at next yearís National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

On November 13 (tomorrow) there are two plays.

At 11h00, there will be Double Bill by Hans Pienaar followed by discussion. Madiba Street is a satire about a man who gets lost in a certain suburb because all the streets are named after Nelson Mandela and all the statues are of him. Conscientious Objection is about a young man who canít make up his mind whether his exploiting his girl friend and has long quarrels with his anthropomorphic conscience about it. Director of both productions is Andre Stolz and the cast is Cornelius Clasen and Jacques Blignaut.

At 14h00, thereís Where The Children Live by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers followed by discussion. This play is based on the writerís life story and explores the non-science of racial identity in a society hell-bent on reversing the injustice of apartheid. Director is Vanessa Cooke and the cast is Harriet Manamela and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

At 16h00 the festival will close with the announcement of winner/s after which there will be an informal gathering at Wilsonís Wharf.

Tickets R20 (R10 students) at the door. More information on 031 201 2161 or email, pansakzn@polka.co.za

The NLDTF/PANSA Festival of Contemporary Theatre Readings 2005 is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and The Royal Netherlands Embassy.




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