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TANGKUPA (article first published : 2002-07-20)

Rob van Vuuren’s physical portrayal of the people in the Tangkupa village provides for superb theatre. From the opening scene with only a very low 30cm black screen and a small bar-type stool he takes the audience on a riveting journey.

The gripping opening scene with Bosa climbing to the top of the mountain captured the imagination of the audience and kept it throughout. With disciplined strength Bosa aims for the top of the cliff to address his ancestral spirits. His movements across the small barrier across the floor to the “top” of the cliff immediately set the standard.

In the meantime Frik Venter departs South Africa and after a hilarious scene in the aeroplane followed by bad turbulence the plane splits in half exactly where Frik is seated and, still strapped to his chair, he tumbles down to earth to land in Tangkupa, the village of giants.

The former Cannibal village welcomes Frik with open arms and his introduction to a love “doepa” ends up getting him married. His life in the village, the birth of a child, his companionship and eventual assistance to the disaster-stricken villagers offers a colourful storyline explored to its fullest by Van Vuuren.

Through movement and sound this theatrical piece offers excellent entertainment. Van Vuuren entertains in true Buckland-style and he certainly deserved the standing ovation. Tangkupa provided fringe theatre at its best during the recent National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. – Thomie Holtzhausen




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