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

DAYS 2 & 3 (article first published : 2006-07-3)

The major part of the last two days were spent adapting scripts for Lotus FM’s late-night drama slot (21h30) which I am now producing so I didn’t see very much of the festival.

However, I did get out to Around the World in 80 Days directed by Alan Swerdlow with a splendid cast spoofing Jules Verne’s classic story (see review in Drama pages).

Good to see Daniel Larlham, son of Peter and Margie Larlham (ex University of Durban, now University of KwaZulu-Natal) who is here with his parents. Margie has a production on which I will try to see – as I also hope to see both Margie and Peter in person before the festival’s over!

Festival director Lynette Marais has been running the National Arts Festival since 1990. In an interview with Cue reporter Kanina Foss, she admits that never makes a prediction as to how each festival is going to turn out. But even in the difficult period when Standard Bank pulled out as the main sponsor before the Eastern Cape government came on board, the festival spirit survived. This year, the Festival sees the support grant from Business and Arts South Africa which has offered major assistant to fringe performers.

At yesterday’s media function, Chairman Mannie Manim announced that there was still room in the festival’s development for two more major sponsors. He also mentioned that this would probably be his final year as Chairman of the Festival committee although he would remain closely linked to the organisation.

Rocker Robin Auld and musician/television presenter Roger Lucy both launched books yesterday – Robin’s being a collection of poetry Kelp and Rogers dealing with how the apartheid police almost silenced him as a musician.

Cue guest writer Robyn Sassen lauds this year’s annual exhibition by the Rhodes University’s Fine Art Department. He says: “The juxtaposition of the works is handled with acumen, enabling the exhibition to veer from anything smacking of “student” and predicts that the level of commitment evidenced by the quality of work on show bodes well for the future of fine art in South Africa.

Robyn Sassen did a round-up of the visual arts line-up on the main festival, reminding festival goers that the “biggest and oldest collection of corporate art in the country, owned by the SABC, one of this year’s Festival sponsors, is in the Albany History Museum. Featuring 180 works, it fills the venue to capacity and “offers works by the most respected names in contemporary local art.”

Thulebona Mzisi got good coverage in Cue for his production Ghetto Dust presented by the Durban dance company God’s Golden Acre as did Nothando Cele in an interview about her professional acting debut at the Festival in Tin Bucket Drum directed by Neil Coppen. Janet van Eeden also got strong publicity for her play A Matter of Time.

A Matter of Time features Durban actor Thomie Holtzhausen who reports that his one-man show Expletive Deleted produced by Janet van Eeden and directed by Ian Roberts is causing much interest. His other one-man show Georgy Porgy has played to near capacity since it opened.

The loss of the music for the production Porra is a sharp reminder to all performers always to have a back-up CD. The Porra CD was left in the sound system of one of the venues which was broken into on Wednesday night and the sound system was stolen. A cancelled show and several near-heart attacks later, the music was re-compiled, but at a bitter cost. Never launch into the production of a show without a back-up CD, especially when you’re working away from home. (Apart from never leaving your CD in the sound system, anyway!)

Yesterday evening, I saw L’Europe Galante presented by Durban’s Baroque 2000 which is a fascinating work that has undoubtedly put Baroque 2000 on the national map. (See review in Music)

This year the Village Green’s beer tent sports a huge television set so that people can watch the Soccer World Cup. No comment!

As I come into the Monument this evening to head for the Media office to load to artSMart, I am again reminded what spectacular sunsets the Eastern Cape enjoys. Truly magnificent. – Caroline Smart




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