Events

Review: My-Self Jo-Ann McQuirk

EMMA PAULET

My-Self is a complex performance of optical illusion, a meditation on the self that incorporates dance and gesture. The production addresses three main ideas, which are differentiated through subtle changes in the styles of the movement: “Who am I?”, “Looking for Myself”, and “Others like Me”.

At the start, a small beam of torchlight in the darkness is shone through a magnifying glass and then refracted using mirrors of varying sizes. Some mirrors are handheld, others are transported across the space on wheels due to their size. Although a harrowing experience for some, it is unique for the audience to be included in a performance through the use of the reflections provided by continuously revolving mirrors. Double entendres abound through reflection: we reflect on our reflections, and reflect on the lyrics of the songs and the words of the performers. We are left questioning the novelty of being ourselves, and whether it is a novelty at all.

Read more: Review: My-Self Jo-Ann McQuirk

Review: Mildred Kegan Gaspar

AAISHA KALLIER

A physical theatre piece by Kegan Gasper, Mildred aims to send shivers down your spine. Running for just less than 45 minutes, the play includes elements of sex, violence, mental breakdowns, murder, and adultery.

Mildred, who the play gravitates around, is a mother and wife who snaps due to the death of her daughter and her husband’s constant infidelity. Through her rage at her husband, she murders each of his lovers and thoroughly enjoys it, yet this ultimately leads to her destruction.

Read more: Review: Mildred Kegan Gaspar

Review: The Second Chapter of Jane Doe, Pieter Human

EMMA PAULET

In the beginning there is darkness on stage, except for two spotlights on either side of a table that represents the only stability in the world which Jane Doe inhabits. A song plays on a loop, hinting at the madness to follow. The show starts with an introduction to the eponymous character through speech and movement. The Second Chapter of Jane Doe is a physical theatre piece that just doesn’t quite achieve what it hopes to.

A total of five actresses play Jane Doe and we are never sure who the real Jane Doe is, or if she exists at all. Each actress portrays a different aspect of Jane Doe – and perhaps a different neurosis. Chaos is cleverly crafted through the simultaneous descriptions of Jane Doe, and there are only a few facts we can be certain of: Jane Doe was born on 11 September, she is a Virgo, and she is afraid of 10 July. The reason for this fear is revealed later in the play and is shown to have resulted in her madness. 
Despite this interesting mystery, the play unfortunately has a number of downsides: the carnivalesque music drowns out the dialogue in places, the larger than life psychiatrist has far too many costume changes, and the narrative on mental illness becomes preachy when it isn't relying on motifs from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

Read more: Review: The Second Chapter of Jane Doe, Pieter Human

Review: Kiu Mduduzi Nhlapo

KOJO ESSAH

Kiu is a physical performance created by Mduduzi Nhlapo. The performance is 45 minutes long and depicts a dystopian world with a thirsty society, “Kiu” being the Swahili word for “thirst”. The story follows two characters, a man and a woman, as they transition from sanity to dysfunctionality and madness. Kiu expertly tells the story of people in a desperate situation, eliciting surprise and curiosity from the audience.
Kiu relies on the movement of the actors for the entirety for the play, as dialogue is used only when needed. Creating a performance that relies heavily on choreography and the synchronisation of the performers is very difficult to pull off, but the creator and the performers have put together a performance so inspiring and expertly executed that it is poetry in motion.

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Review: Plugged In: A live connection

JULIA BAIN

Plugged In is a physical theatre/dance piece performed by four students – two male and two female – from the University of Pretoria. This movement piece showcases some of the negative side effects of living in a technologically driven society through use of sound, lighting, choreography and some spoken word elements.

Using solos, duos and group dances, the performers depict different aspects of the negative impact of technology on individuals. Disconnection, cyber bullying and dependence on mobile devices are some of the themes depicted. The use of props in the production was interesting to see and effective in the storytelling. Bold lighting effects were also used to great effect and the choice of music enhanced and complimented the bold choreography.

Read more: Review: Plugged In: A live connection

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