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On Friday 4 September Prof. Molly Brown, head of UP’s English department, presented a talk in the Merensky Library titled “My life with books”, in which she spoke about her journey with different types of literature. The event was held to mark National Book Week, which is celebrated annually in September.
Prof. Brown began the talk by speaking about her pre-school years and the books that were read to her as a young child. She cites all of the books mentioned in her talk as having a profound influence on her life. “The power of books to inhabit one is, I think, generally recognised,” she said. She supported this statement on the books that influenced her childhood by quoting novelist Elizabeth Bowen, who said that “the child lives in the book, but just as much, the book lives in the child.”
π (pi) is a play being performed from 3-5 September at the Lier theatre on Hatfield campus. The play was created by Micia de Wet, a drama student completing her master’s degree at UP. The play explores the performance styles of Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty and draws its inspiration from Sam Shepard’s original text A Lie of the Mind.
“π transfers the two protagonists from the original text and places them into a new play context,” says De Wet. The play looks at what would happen if the two “doomed lovers” didn’t have to separate, as happens in the original version. De Wet talks about the use of film in the play and how the use of different mediums is a huge part of the play. “π is an infinite number, and when we think about how we understand love and the experience of human emotion, I believe it is something infinite that can’t be defined to time and space,” says De Wet. De Wet aims to make her audience think about redefining themselves outside of binaries such as race, class and sexuality.
Once Upon A Song has been approved for assessment and reviewing for the 2016 Naledi Theatre Awards and the Achievement Awards in Arts by London’s Trinity College. What would you like to see the production achieve in this regard?
The first thing that comes to mind is experience and exposure, some recognition, and getting our names as a cast, as a show and as the director out there. It’s like a foot in the door of the industry, [and] if any of the cast, crew, the musical itself or myself can walk away with an award or even get a nomination, that would be super great and would give us the opportunity to explore and be recognised in the industry, which is very hard today.
Are there any challenges involved in being both a cast member and the director of the show?
Definitely. Originally I wasn’t going to feature in the show. It’s simply impossible to direct and act at the same time, but after castings my casting director suggested I do the role of Ravi the Guru seeing that no-one else suited the role, and it happened.
15 August was a big night for South Africa’s best comedians as the fifth annual Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards winners were announced at the Teatro at Montecasino. The ceremony seemed more like a show as the various winners were all given five minutes to make the audience members fall out of their seats with laughter. Like the nominations, the awards were hosted by the always-funny Alan Committie, who had plenty to say to the rest of the comedians for delaying the start of the evening.
South African comedy’s golden boy, Trevor Noah, won two of the nine awards on offer, including the prestigious Comic of the Year award. Other winners included Schalk Bezuidenhout who walked away with the Intermediate Comic award, Khanyisa Bunu who delivered a very funny set after winning the Audience’s Choice award, and Joe Mafela, the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achiever award. A number of local celebrities such as Alex J, Derek Watts and Bryan Habana were tasked with announcing the winners. An acapella group of female singers took to the stage before each category and entertained the audience immensely.
On 19 August, Nicho Barnard’s adaption of Once Upon A Song: The New Cinderella Musical opened at the Roodepoort Theatre. The opening night had roughly 60 audience members in attendance. The show tells the story of a talented teenager who is bullied by her stepfamily after the death of her father. The story was originally made into a film in 2011 by Damon Santostefano and formed part of the A Cinderella Story series.
The show was challenging to follow at times as it seemed as if it was under rehearsed. The cast seemed disinterested in their own performances, which lead to a meek response from the audience. It seemed as if some of the actors had never acted before. The director also chose to make the performers lip-synch some of the songs instead of singing themselves, which ended up being messy because the music and the performers were out of synch on several occasions.