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THE LIFE AND WORK OF PETROVIK PETAR (article first published : 2008-01-5)

The Life and Work of Petrovik Petar, which forms part of the Musho Festival currently running at the Kwasuka and Catalina Theatres, was written by Sanjin Muftic, with drawings by Jon Keevy, and is performed by Jason Potgieter. It starts with Jason Potgieter energetically and by means of mime, with minimal props (a walking stick, a bucket, a small white carpet - which doubles as a canoe - packets of eats and a haversack from which several items are extracted), acting ostensibly as a naughty little boy.

This scene could beneficially have been curtailed as it did not add much to the play, which we are told in a voice-over, that the audience has come to see. This starts with Jason Potgieter, as Petrovik Petar, reading his life and work from the book he had previously extracted from the haversack.

At a young age, Petrovik Petar had landed in Africa as a refugee. His journey across the continent - the Sahara Desert features strongly - and the search for his own place in Africa, starting from being a little boy drawing a portrait of himself, then follow. These are told through both live performance and multimedia in which his life story is documented.

His fascination with Africa’s biggest animal, the elephant, is beautifully portrayed. His arguments with some of Africa’s most controversial leaders, and his love of some of Africa’s most beautiful women, are detailed by means of video clips on the large white sheet stretched across the back of the stage. Petrovik Petar lived with big dreams, and even bigger adventures. His use of his full name when reading from the book instead of the initials gives rise to a lovely one liner in the play. A one hander is not an easy medium and Jason Potgieter manages this extremely well, holding the large first night audience riveted.

There will be one further performance of The Life and Work of Petrovik Petar at the Kwasuka Theatre, Stamford Hill Road, Greyville, on January 4 at 18h00. For more information on the Festival, contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889. Full schedules can be e-mailed/faxed on request and the full programme is available at www.mushofestival.co.za. Tickets R50 pp per show (R25 students and old age pensioners). To book tickets to performances at either venue, call Thandeka at the Catalina on 031 305 6889 or tickets can be purchased online at www.strictlytickets.com or at www.goingplacessa.co.za / www.goingplacessa.com - Maurice Kort




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