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BIG UDDER (article first published : 2002-02-11)

Well-known Durban performers Ellis Pearson and Bheki Mkhwane have come up with a novel idea for 2002. Often criticised for the fact that they seldom perform in Durban, they have entered into an agreement with the NSA Gallery to perform there for one weekend of the month.

They aim to create a dynamic and innovative performance area incorporating both the sloping lawns and the restaurant area. Another idea is to develop a truly atmospheric experience for the audience by inviting musicians and other artists whose work enhances the spirit of their African outdoor theatre.

The first three Ellis ‘n Bheki NSA experiences will be from February 22 and 23 at 19h30 and February 24 at 18h00 when they will perform Big Udder. This piece, commissioned by The Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts had its premiere in Grahamstown in July 2001. Subsequently it has played in schools throughout South Africa, at The Tricycle Theatre in London, in several provincial theatres in the UK and at The Natal Witness Hilton Arts Festival.

In March it will be at the Wellington Festival in New Zealand, in April at the Maitisong Festival in Botswana and in June it will be featured as part of the cultural festival accompanying the soccer world Cup in Korea.

Big Udder is described as a story of love and hate; a story of reconciliation; a story of great beauty where a cow is not just a cow ….A marriage of people who fear and distrust each other cannot last long. If Ziko and Luluma could be joined in marriage then, for the first time, the villages could be brought together in peace.

But the heroes of this story are not the star-crossed lovers but the magnificent cattle that make up the lobolo dowry herd, and especially the amazing Big Udder. Audiences follow their adventure in a story which twists and turns through a landscape of emotion which is truly African.

Ellis and Bheki’s second weekend will be March 29 to 31 when they will perform their all-time favourite Boy Called Rubbish and from April 26 to 28, they will present their new piece, The Hungry, recently commissioned by the Grahamstown Festival for 2002.

Tickets R40 (R30 scholars, students and pensioners) available at the NSA. More details from Sue Clarence on 082 882-9869 or e-mail: clarence @icon.co.za




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