Excuse me sir, may I leave? My brain is full…

 

The belly of the theatre feels as if it’s suffering from a life-threatening fever. The heat is stifling and the over-crowded room is moist with hot breaths and a curious mixture of odours including gentle perfume, freshly smoked cigarettes and perspiration.  We are waiting for the start of Iqonga and it’s great to see so much interested in the Out the Box productions.

Iqonga/Platform is a selection of 8 productions of around 12 minutes each.  It’s a heady experience filled with very brilliant and rather peculiar live performances, multimedia shows, singing , tree climbing and a chicken road kill. 
Just some that stood out…

 

Brake performed by Andrew Laubscher, nephew of Andre Laubscher (Flowers for my Flesh) – with voice over performance by Ariella Caira features only a double bed and a man with a whiskey glass.  On a screen a slide show of a typical party snaps is being shown – the night degrades into a kind of Great Gatsby debauchery and it ends and with a fight between a man and a woman.  Its feels like a poetic unscrambling of messy relationships fuelled by alcohol, anxious music and sexual desire.   Directed by Tara Louise Notcutt this piece feels sexy, modern and disturbing.

 

Sonnets 4-16 is an exploration of Shakespeare’s SONNET XXXIII.  This dreamy piece makes you feel as if you’ve fallen through Alice’s rabbit hole and have been transported to a much more beautiful world.

Full many a glorious morning have I seen

 Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
 Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,

Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace

 

Then we are all ushered outside and there is a man hanging in a tree. Lynchpin sees Andrew Laubscher in a performance without dialogue (apart from a small radio).  A man lives in a tree only to go down to the ground to get food and water from his various hiding places.  He is alone in his world or the world.  For a few sacred moments he listens on his radio before scrambling up his tree again.

Vrh prsti is a not only short on vowels but it is the turning point where the night’s performances get really weird.   A man, a woman  – a war  -and the search for identity depicted in multimedia madness.  I don’t really ‘get’ any of it but it is delightfully disturbing and screams visual originality.

By the time we are walking out to our second site-specific performance, alive and dying, my head is spinning with all the imagery sounds and concepts thrown at us. It’s like a crazy rollercoaster ride through a tunnel of smarties.  For me, alive and dying, felt like a metaphor of how we devour the things we love by loving it too much – smothering it – then we cry out in regret when we see the corpses at our feet.  Our love for ambition, love for each other, love for power, love for our children. And all the while I kept hearing Oscar Wilde’s poem in my head as I watch a woman on screen kissing a sponge puppet, more and more passionately, until she starts devouring it – entirely:

Yet each man kills the thing he loves

By each let this be heard,

Some do it with a bitter look,

Some with a flattering word,

The coward does it with a kiss,

The brave man with a sword!

 

Some kill their love when they are young,

And some when they are old;

Some strangle with the hands of Lust,

Some with the hands of Gold:

The kindest use a knife, because

The dead so soon grow cold.

                     -Form the The Ballad Of Reading Gaol – Oscar Wilde

Iqonga is a project of the Creative Exchange at UNIMASA – Out the Box Festival 2010

Iqonga/Platform 2010:
Anne Hirsch – Prisch Productions.
Ditluwana Productions
Francesco Nassimbeni  – /performanceisnow\.
Kai Lossgott
Kim Kerfoot – Instant Arts Collective.
Layla Swart – Spring Productions.
Sanjin Muftic – Yawazzi.
Tara Notcutt – The Pink Couch.

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