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ELLIS & BHEKI AT NSA (article first published : 2002-11-22)

Ellis Pearson and Bheki Mkwane are presenting a successful season of productions at the NSA Galleries this festive season as part of the NSAís Buzzart festival.

From November 28 to December 1 at 19h30, Ellis and Bheki will perform Skadonk, the tale of a wonderful taxi driver, his shiny red taxi, his small son and his campaign to better the life of the village. This is vibrant, inventive physical street theatre proving the adage that entertainment is the first step towards education.

From December 5 to 8, itís Big Udder (iLobolo), a piece commissioned by The Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts which had its premiere in Grahamstown in July 2001. Subsequently it has played in schools throughout South Africa as well as at The Tricycle Theatre in London and in several provincial theatres in the UK. They have also given performances at The Natal Witness Hilton Arts Festival; the Wellington Festival in New Zealand; the Maitisong Festival in Botswana and it was featured as part of the cultural festival accompanying the soccer world Cup in Korea.

The story is built around the belief that a marriage of people who fear and distrust each other cannot last long. The central character is a young man who falls in love with a beautiful girl but the smoke from the fires of hatred have long blinded the eyes of the people of these two villages. The heroes are not the star-crossed lovers but the magnificent cattle that make up the lobolo dowry herd, and especially the amazing Big Udder.

The actors pay tribute to novelist Marguerite Poland who shared with them the knowledge and resources of her doctoral thesis: The Abundant Herds: A Celebration of the Sanga-Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People.

The next production, to run from December 12 to 15, is The Hungry. In a style they have made truly their own and in a manner unique to them, Ellis and Bheki present their latest piece of theatre. The play explores powerful issues such as the relationship between Africa and the West.

The final piece in the series is the ever-popular Boy Called Rubbish which runs from December 19 to 22.

Performances at 19h30.There will be no advance booking. Tickets R35 (R25 bona fide pupils, students and senior citizens) at the door from 19h00. All enquiries to Sue on 082 882 9869. Bring a cushion or a blanket. Picnic meals, bar facilities, coffee and cakes provided by the NSA!! An event for the whole family. Come back each week for another show




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