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NATIONAL FINALS OF NEW WRITINGS (article first published : 2007-11-8)

The national finals of one of South Africa’s most dynamic writing competitions, the NLDTF / PANSA Festival of Contemporary Theatre Reading of New Writings, will take place this weekend (November 10 and 11) at the Kwasuka Cutting Edge Theatre in Greyville, Durban.

There are three plays in the finals and the judges – one from each participating region – are Tamar Meskin (KZN); Sarah Roberts (Gauteng) and Malika Ndlovu (Western Cape).

Anton Krueger’s witty comedy, Chatter from Gauteng will be read on Saturday morning at 11h00. The piece appeals to a young theatre audience with its story of miscommunication unfolding in a world reliant on cellphones and cyberspace. Greg Homann’s direction adds a quirky and humorous layer to the reading using sound effects and video projection.

Paul Ian Johnson's contemporary South African drama, False Witness from the Western Cape, will be read on Saturday afternoon at 14h00 This edge-of-your-seat thriller defies the usual categorisation of it's genre by delivering an unexpected commentary on morality and fallible heroes. The play has broad appeal, with no sell-out on quality.

Carrying the Durban flag will be Kobus Moolman’s poignant two hander, Stone Angel, which will be read on Sunday morning at 10h00. Clare Mortimer directs this compelling, lyrical and moody two-hander read by Josette Eales, Janna Ramos-Violante with additional vocal input from Ewok. These two enormously complex women are separated by more than a hundred years but have a connection between them. Part theatre “Biopic”, part historical drama and part ghost story, this script weaves stories of past and present together, and in so doing examines our interpretation of historical events which over time has become folklore and national myth. “Poppie” – is a contemporary car guard in Northern Natal guarding cars of visitors who have come to attend a function at a Boer cemetery on a battle field. We cut back 100 years to meet “Dolli” – the fallen Boer woman and learn about her fascinating and tragic story. (The play is bilingual – written in English and Afrikaans)

The judging takes immediately place after Stone Angel with the award ceremony being held at around lunch-time.

The NLDTF / PANSA Festivals of Contemporary Theatre Readings has become an important space to encourage and nurture new South African theatre works, and provides a platform for these works to reach the attention of theatre producers. A generous grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) ensures there are great prizes to be won in this prestigious competition.

At the national competition prizes include: Best Writer (as selected by the panellists) at R30,000; Runner-up R15,000; Best Director R10,000 and the Audience Prize R15,000.

The festival is one of the initiatives of PANSA (The Performing Arts Network of SA) – the civic association serving the needs of the performing arts community nationally and regionally. PANSA also co-ordinates the Musho Festival of One and Two hander plays every January at the Catalina and Kwasuka Theatres in Durban. Entry is free and all are welcome!

More information from the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889 or Scelo in the PANSA KZN offices (mornings only) on 031 309 5838, or e-mail PANSA KZN on pansakzn@polka.co.za For further information visit www.pansa.org.za




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