A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

letters
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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

ANTHONY STONIER (article first published : 2003-10-21)

In reply to the poorly written addle- pated, ill-conceived and unintelligent diatribe penned with as much skill as his own works of shimmering mediocrity, Mr Brincat is calling for a new messiah for theatre in Durban. He claims that we should not blame the audiences and, on this subject, I agree wholeheartedly with him.

He calls, too, for new playwrights and here, again, I concur. What Mr Brincat does not take into consideration is that political and social propaganda in theatre as a general rule is a god awful bore. In spite of much pseudo intellectual wishful thinking to the contrary the theatre is now, always has been and - I devoutly hope - always will be primarily a place for entertainment.

Simply because Mr Brincat is patently obviously a disciple of Jansen, Govender, Ellenbogen and Khan, it does not necessarily follow that there are no new playwrights in Durban with whom one can ”banter about an original script or two”.

On the contrary Durban is bursting with innovative new playwrights. Patrick Hyland has had three new scripts premiere in KZN in the last month alone; Peter Court has written, directed and performed in three new works; Greig Coetzee has written and performed in a brand new internationally acclaimed piece; John van de Ruit and Ben Voss have been a sell-out success with their comedy Green Mamba, and van de Ruit has a new script ready for production early in the new year; the much-maligned and far from their sell-by date Ellis Pearson and Bheki Mkhwane write, rehearse and perform a new piece annually. Would Mr Brincat perhaps like to be introduced to all these playwrights living and working in Durban?

To end I wish to quote that “B grade” playwright, actor, producer, director, lyricist, wit, entertainer, artist and author Sir Noel Coward with his views on how to maintain audience interest in theatre and advise any would-be messiahs:

“If a young writer is burning with social injustice and quiveringly intolerant of the ideological status quo he would be well advised to choose some other medium in which to express his views. He can address crowds at Marble Arch, write pamphlets, novels or free verse, stand on soap boxes and incite factory workers and dock-hands to strike, or go into politics. He can even march up and down the main thoroughfares of London (protectively escorted by the long suffering Metropolitan Police Force) waving banners and shouting at the top of his lungs that he is against this or that or the other thing, but in fairness to himself and his future hopes he had better keep away from the theatre; for theatre, after perhaps a brief start of surprise, will in a comparatively short space of time, ignore him and ultimately forget him entirely.

“The first allegiance of a young playwright should be, not to his political convictions, not to his moral and social conscience, but to his talent. And what is more, over and above this initial talent, it is his duty as an artist to impose upon himself and his work industry, lucidity, economy of phrase, self-criticism, taste, selectivity, and enough technical ability to convey whatever he wishes to convey to a large audience. (I say large advisedly because it is palpably a waste of time to appeal merely to a minority of the already converted.) This cannot be achieved only by hatred of established conditions and the impulse to destroy. It can be achieved occasionally, however, by the forms of self-discipline I have outlined above, coupled with a certain humility, humour and an intelligent and respectful attitude to the public.

“Consider the public. Treat it with tact and courtesy. It will accept much from you if you are clever enough to win it to your side. Never fear it or despise it. Coax it, charm it, interest it, stimulate it, shock it now and then if you must, make it laugh, make it cry and make it think, but above all, dear “messiahs”, in spite of indiscriminate and largely ignorant critical acclaim, in spite of awards and prizes and other dubious accolades, never never never bore the living fuck out of it.”

Anthony Stonier. (One of Durban’s Gazillion Plastic Mannequins)




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart