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JOHNNY BOSKAK FOR HILTON (article first published : 2006-09-12)

A fantastic new addition to this year’s Witness Hilton Arts Festival, which takes place at the Hilton College this weekend (September 15 to 17) is the sublime Greig Coetzee’s award-winning new play Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny.

Johnny Boskak, seen in Durban at the PANSA Musho Festival in January, replaces the advertised production Naked which regrettably has had to withdraw from the festival.

Patrons who have tickets for Naked will automatically be exchanged for tickets for Johnny Boskak. Should patrons with tickets for Naked not wish to see Johnny Boskak they can be refunded during the course of the festival from the festival on-site ticket office on presentation of their tickets. Hilton festival organisers will be contacting Naked patrons personally to arrange exchange and refunds with them.

There will be tickets available for Johnny Boskak for Hilton festival-goers – contact the Hilton festival booking office to secure your tickets – or fax the booking form through to their Hilton office replacing Naked with Johnny Boskak on the form.

Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny is on Saturday at 17h30 and Sunday at 19h00 at the Memorial Hall. Tickets R65.

Written and performed by Greig Coetzee and directed by Genna Lewis with music by Durban’s Syd Kitchen, Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny recently returned from Scotland where it won a Fringe First Award at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The award was Greig Coetzee's second Fringe First. Only 17 shows received Fringe Firsts this year out of the many hundreds that are eligible for these coveted awards. As the world's largest Arts Festival featuring plays from around the globe, the Edinburgh Fringe runs throughout August during which time over 1,800 different productions run throughout the city.

A return to roots for Coetzee - Johnny Boskak is based on one of the characters from his hugely successful debut-piece - White Men with Weapons. Based on Coetzee's own experience in the South African military, White Men with Weapons was also seen in Edinburgh in 2000 when it also received a Fringe First as well as The Stage Best Actor Award. Coetzee wondered what one of these army veterans would be like in 2006, 20 years after his army service, now in a very different South Africa. And so, in this new play, Johnny Boskak emerges from the shadows of history.

With a script written in rhyme that one Edinburgh critic described as between "Bob Dylan and Eminem", Coetzee intended Johnny Boskak to be a mini rock-opera for spoken word. Or a road movie for the stage. Visual artist Michelle Coetzee created original artwork for the projections reflecting Johnny's dark view of the South African landscape. Afro-Saxon guitarist, singer and song-writer, Syd Kitchen, composed a wonderfully complementary sound-track for the show. The play was directed by Coetzee's partner, Genna Lewis.

Greig Coetzee also directs Blood Orange - the latest exciting offering by performer Craig Morris, an exciting blend of physical theatre and stunning narrative for this year’s Witness Hilton Arts Festival. His 1995 reconciliation play, which he penned together with Helen Vermaak, has been adapted as Bambelela Sisajika – Hold on Tight, We’re Still Turning and will be performed at the new SuperSonics venue at Hilton.

Booking kits are available from selected SPAR Stores in KZN. Kits can also be collected from Exclusive Books (La Lucia, Pavilion and Gateway), Adams in Musgrave Centre and town, Cascades Bookshop and the Witness offices in Pietermaritzburg. Also from leading galleries and theatre foyers. Detailed information can be found on www.artslink.co.za/hilton. For more information – visit http://www.artslink.co.za/hilton / www.artslink.co.za/hilton or the Hilton Festival hotline on theatre@hiltoncollege.com or phone 033 3830126

The Hilton Arts Festival and the producers of Naked wish to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this change to the programme has caused patrons.




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