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

JUTRO (article first published : 2008-07-30)

One of the highlights of the St Anne’s Theatre Festival 2008 will undoubtedly be the poignant dramatic piece, Jutro presented in association with Daphne Kuhn, The Theatre – St Anne’s College, Fresco Theatre and Keren Tahor.

Israeli-South African actress, Keren Tahor, joins forces with James Cuningham and Helen Iskander of Fresco Theatre, to bring a beautiful new theatre gem to life. In its run at The National Arts Festival in July 2008, and at last year’s Hilton Arts Festival, Jutro had audiences and critics alike hailing the show as their ‘pick of the festival’.

Jutro, pronounced 'yoo-tro', is the Polish word for 'tomorrow' and the play is about the human capacity for hope in challenging situations. Mina (Tahor) is a Jewish cabaret singer in a rundown Warsaw nightclub. She dreams of a better existence, of fame and a career in America, but the onset of war has made this desire more a fantasy than an ambition. The only person prepared to share her hopes and indulge in her delusions is Janusz (Cuningham), the club's resident barman, a man deeply in love with Mina.

When the club is struck by a bomb; a violent moment that marks the play's opening and sets up its scenario and tone, Mina and Janusz's lives are transformed into a singular fight for survival rather than a quest for fame and fortune: the pair are trapped underground, with only a small manhole through which Janusz must frequently exit to search for food... and a way out for Mina. With a striking set (designed by Lisa Younger), and an original musical score created by Dan Selsick, Jutro provides a theatrical style that has the absurdity of Waiting for Godot and the innocence of Life is Beautiful. Earlier this year, Jutro was nominated for four Naledi Awards, including Best Actor, Best Cutting-Edge Production and Best Sound Design, and it won Best Set Design.

The delicate nature of the subject matter in Jutro – the holocaust – is dealt with in a manner that does not seek to preach, but rather to create a backdrop against which we see beautiful elements of our own humanity. Jutro is ultimately a beacon of hope in a world distracted by the inhumane, and although it resonates on many levels, it is a truly comic drama.

Jutro is presented in The Theatre - St Anne’s College on August 11 and 12 at 20h00. Tickets R60 (R50 concessions). Bookings on 033 343 3300.




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