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DRAMA ON THE FRINGE (article first published : 2007-06-27)

The Fringe drama programme is a cauldron of talent just waiting to erupt onto the stage. Andrew Buckland’s new solo piece Voetsek! directed by Janet Buckland, premières at the 2007 Fringe Festival. With typically serious humour, and a uniquely physical performance style Andrew Buckland takes the audience on a fantastical journey fuelled by an intense love of storytelling.

Fresco Theatre’s première production, Jutro featuring James Cuningham and Keren Tahor under director Helen Iskander, reflects on the human capacity for hope in challenging situations. Cuningham and Iskander have become known for their inventive, visual brand of theatre. An intense love story, this physical performance piece resonates with human emotion.

Written and conceived as a collaborative work by versatile physical performer Taryn Bennett and director, Ingrid Wylde, Frogs is a metaphor for where South Africa is at present. This is a narration of identity, of recognising self and self in relation to others. It examines preconceptions of violence, gender, personhood, fear of the ‘other’, and shifting paradigms.

Peter Ngwenya directs the Soweto Youth Drama Company in Silent Voices, a tale of abuse with an ironic twist. Following the immensely successful 2005 Fringe production, Toilet, which went on to perform at the Sydney Festival in Australia, Silent Voices, deals with a woman’s abuse of her husband, promising to be another riveting and insightful drama.

PST Productions’ Bheki Khabela and Sduduzo Kawula star in The Horse Shoe, a tale of two unlikely companions who meet in a busy Saturday afternoon tote. For once, Lady Luck is with them. This play combines the energy and excitement of the racetrack with moments of quiet beauty and melancholy. The cantering action contrasts with the silence and sadness of a mother who loses her sons to the night.

Comedy, charm and pathos are evident in the fresh and unconventional wit of The Boy who fell from the Roof that gently explores most of the things worth falling for in life. Roy Sargeant directs Francesco Nassimbeni, Alex Halligey, Adrienne Pearce, David Johnson and Frances Marek in this funny and enchanting play by Juliet Jenkin’s, which played to critical acclaim on the 2006 Main Programme.

South Africa’s first full-length deaf and hearing integrated show Gumbo (from the hip: khulumakahle (FTH:K) production) is an important milestone in theatrical history. Written by Rob Murray and Floss Adams and directed by Tanya Surtees, this tragicomedy is a modern fairytale about finding one’s place in the world. Violet Rose Bite, directed by Karen Jeynes and featuring Janni Younge, incorporates Bonraku-style puppetry and shadow theatre in an introspective piece that looks at a woman’s search for her inner self.

It is 16 years since Phyllis Klotz and Smal Ndaba brought D.E.T Boys’ High to première on the Fringe Festival. Back in 1991, the production played to massive critical acclaim and won a Fringe First Award as well as a Vita Award for its contribution to theatre in South Africa. Certainly as pertinent now as it was then, the 2007 revival alternates gritty chatter with bursts of a cappella harmony and high energy dancing.

From the stables of Seity and Feil Poppie Entertainment and the SA State Theatre comes a satire on the continued struggle for democracy and the role that politics plays in the lives of the average South African. Without pointing fingers, Kaffer Paradys: 10 Ways 2 Kill a President highlights the cultural differences (and similarities) between political role players and takes a tongue in cheek look at South African’s curiosity and distrust about those in other cultural groups not their own. Clive Mthibe directs this poignant piece, which has moments that will have the audience laughing in recognition of the familiar!

Under the direction of Jaco Bouwer, Brother Number starring Rob van Vuuren and James Cairns opened to rave reviews in Cape Town. Described as uniformly excellent, the duo inhabits a host of characters with all the accents and mannerisms intact. Why do they have a suitcase full of ID books of dead people all with the same surname? Catch it at St Andrew’s Hall and find out!

With 83 drama productions in the line-up, ranging from serious to comic – from nostalgic to topical, fantastical and historical, the Fringe Drama programme is like a mini novella. This is all brought to you by the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. The SABC and The National Arts Council.

Check it out on the website www.nafest.co.za or collect a Booking Kit from your nearest Standard Bank or Computicket. The Festival hotline is open for queries, call 046 603 1103/1164.




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