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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE WAY OF US (article first published : 2002-09-2)

Ellis Pearson’s The Way of Us, a journey with the Durban Institute of Technology’s drama students provided for thought-provoking physical theatre that will long be remembered; certainly by the students.

Head of the Drama Department, Debbie Lutge, rightly thanks Pearson “for sharing with us a truly captivating energy, an inimitable drive and ever-focused enthusiasm, a wealth of theatrical experience, a thorough knowledge of the craft of the moving actor, and a generosity of spirit”

Indeed, the students’ commitment and energised spirits throughout the performance was evident in each and every actor. Ensemble work at its best with the heart of all firmly entrenched in the performance. The enormous cast did not for one second lose their commitment. Each and every actor was charged with an honest dedication seldom found in student performances of this magnitude.

In Pearson’s introductory words in the programme he explains beautifully what, to all present, was evident throughout the performance: “..theatre is a powerful communal activity. It combines sounds and images, noises, humour, surprises, danger, physical actions, stylised gestures and the power of imagination, to create a very present moment that draws everyone – audience, actors and musicians – into a special kind of relationship.”

The script has been generated by the events of September 11, the human dramas in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Goma, and by the fact that 800 million people on our planet starve daily. However, the experience by audience and performers is much closer to home. It is about life, about journeys, about who we are and why we are here, both as members of a bigger world and as individuals.

One cannot but be taken in on the journey presented and simultaneously question your own self. The universe becomes a heart, a mind and the purpose of existence is explored, dissected and analysed. Through the play the intensity of human life and its dramas becomes a simple path to be walked with honesty and integrity.

On departure from the performance someone swerved in front of my vehicle in a rather rude and reckless manner: The driver’s action did not matter. Mine did, it is my journey and the choices how to react is mine. - Luke Thomas




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