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HOMEGROWN COMEDY (article first published : 2001-08-6)

The fast-paced, one-woman show Insignificant Others is one of three plays selected nation-wide to be part of The South African Women’s Arts Festival 2001 and comes to Durban fresh from a highly successful season at Artscape’s On the Side venue in Cape Town.

The play is performed by Anthea Carolus and directed by Shelley Barry, who both originally hail from the Eastern Cape. They are members of new moon ventures, a section 21 company driven by a core group of six multi-skilled Cape Town-based women theatremakers, which includes acclaimed writer of A Coloured Place Malika Ndlovu (Lueen Conning) as director of the company.

Insignificant Others was first written and performed by Carolus and Barry as a two-woman show for the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in 1995, where it received rave reviews. In 1996, Shelley Barry was shot and consequently disabled in taxi violence and the play was transformed into a one-woman show with Carolus. Five years later the duo decided to re-script and revise the play, with Barry directing it.

Loosely described as a "tragi-comedy", Insignificant Others is the story of Plain Jane who longs to look like the flawless, airbrushed images of perfection she sees in the media. The audience is given a glimpse into Plain Jane’s life as she slips between the often interchangeable worlds of reality and fantasy, sanity and insanity. The play questions how people “customise” their identity in order to be loved and accepted by society. Jane, a devoted Oprah fan, is not as much a character as she is a personification of all everyone’s fears about their bodies.

The play is set in 1999, a period of time when Jane has set herself the goal of looking her absolute best by the time the millennium party comes around. “Poor Theatre” techniques are used where props and sound are minimal.

Anthea Carolus has a sharp wit and a wonderfully direct rapport with her audience. She skilfully transports the audience into different worlds, playing several characters, including a ninja-soldier, a funky rap artist, Oprah, an eccentric surgeon, a blues singer, an “alternative” psychologist and, of course, Plain Jane.

The show performed to full houses at the 5th International Women’s Playwright’s Festival in Athens, Greece, the Onecity and WOW Festivals in Cape Town, and the Celebration of Ability Festival in Durban. It has been invited to Amsterdam and Sweden later this year.

Insignificant Others is a fun, tongue-in-cheek look at the “body perfect”. Performances are on August 8 (19h30), August 9 (14h00) and August 10 (20h30). Tickets R20 for evening shows and R14 for the matinee (20% discount for groups of 10 or more). A fascinating film on the making of this play also forms part of the festival.

For more information call the Festival Hotline on (031) 369-9444. Brochures available at TicketWeb outlets or at the Playhouse Complex. Tickets at TicketWeb or book on-line at www.ticketweb.co.za , or call the Playhouse Box Office on (031) 369-9444.

Presented by The Playhouse Company and proudly sponsored by Transnet, The South African Women’s Arts Festival 2001 runs from August 8 to 12.




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