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

CHATTER (article first published : 2008-07-17)

Appearing on the 2008 National Arts Festival’s Fringe programme, Chatter is a romantic comedy, set in Johannesburg, filled with mix-ups, confusion and grand moments of comic tragedy. One pair, Mr. Daniels and Tilly are to meet to discuss business. Another pair - Mr. Daniels brother, Albie, and ‘Tiglet’ (an internet pseudonym) fell in love while Albie was living in the UK and Tiglet (Anne) was living in South Africa. They have never met, but have fallen in love and are engaged to be married. A grand mix-up occurs and Tilly and Albie get paired up, and Anne aka Tiglet and Mr. Daniels are paired up. As a by-product of the main comic occurrences due to the mix-up, the girl running the internet café (who is Tilly’s friend) falls for Anne’s female friend, and they are paired up.

Written by Anton Krueger, directed by Greg Hoffman and winner of the 2007 PANSA Gauteng play reading festival, Chatter is a fast-paced, racing comedy of errors with a ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ feel. The focus was relationships and stage sections and scenes were obviously divided into female and male segments. A screen was used to project internet chat strings, also for the beginning business lecture (to establish the technological part of the modern day world) and other effects also assisted by the screen were - for example - when someone sent an sms from their phone, and they were actually typing out the message, it would show the message on the screen being typed out.

Computers were represented with merely computer keyboards, and sporadically performers would break the reality of scenes and break off into a synchronized keyboard ‘dance’ or rather movement piece to the beat of the song; all while sitting at computers or lap tops. It was precise to the beat, comical and well done.

Performers were above average and successfully covered topics about the internet age of dating with comic timing precise. This is worth watching if you know relationships and the internet and want a giggle. – Shika Budhoo




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