Pandemic inspired plays take to stage

Crystal Finck in Modorenai, which runs at Theatre Arts from Wednesday October 14 to Sunday October 18. The piece is one of five new performance works which have been created in response to lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: Jess Kramer

Five new performance works have been created in response to lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions as part of an initiative by Theatre Arts in Observatory.

A call was made for artists to propose physically distanced performances for the Creating Theatre in the Age of Corona series. The programme features a range of dance, movement, theatre and installation.

“This is live performance that takes at its heart the idea that artists and audience need to remain physically distanced, and how we can meet,” says Caroline Calburn, director of Theatre Arts.

“With only 15 seats available at each performance, we have found that audiences are experiencing theatre at a different level – intimate, exclusive, almost with a new purity of engagement.”

The line up for Creating Theatre in the Age of Corona:

Nothing is here on Saturday October 10, at 4pm and 7pm, and Sunday October 11, at 3pm and 6pm.

An experimental dance piece that takes nothing as its subject matter, it is performed in and around an architectural sculpture comprised of multiple doors by Robin Kirsten. Conceived and created by Craig Leo and Robin Kirsten, Nothing is here is developed in collaboration with Unmute Dance Company and includes Ukwanda Puppets and Design Art Collective. It is choreographed by Themba Mbuli and performed by Siphenathi Mayekiso and Andile Vellem.

Modorenai from Wednesday October 14 to Sunday October 18, at 7pm.

A Japanese word that translates as “we cannot return”, the movement piece explores different states of mind around touch and finding ways to come to terms with the enforced distance placed between people. It looks at how touch becomes more than a physical gesture, and transforms into emotional, psychological, spiritual connections. The piece is conceived, choreographed and directed by Rafé Green, and performed and co-created with Darion Adams and Crystal Finck.

Cwaka, from Thursday October 22 to Sunday October 25, at 7.30pm and 3pm on Sunday.

In this show twin sisters in their late 20s have grown up estranged from each other. When their birth mother goes missing, they begin to share dreams and must rescue her from a fear demon in the ancestral realm together. Cwaka is conceived and directed by Qondiswa James and co-written by the artistic team. It features Tankiso Mamabolo and Namisa Mdlalose.

Syndesi, from Wednesday November 11 to Saturday November 14, at 8pm.

This dance work explores the different ways of maintaining connection and cohesion despite physical separation. It is conceived, created, choreographed and directed by Shirley-Anne Bezuidenhout and performed by Celeste Botha, Sasha Fourie Myburgh and Tamsyn Spannenberg.

Murmurations, from Wednesday December 2 to Saturday December 5, at 8pm.

Conceived, created and facilitated by theatre-maker, director and storyteller Megan Furniss and performance artist, poet and curator, Louise Westerhout, the show explores unanswerable questions. Must we grant you permission? Are we lying? Is this beautiful? Is it the healing or the offering? No two performances of it will be the same.

Tickets to all performances cost R100 and can be purchased at www.theatrearts.co.zaBookings must be made online and no cash sales are available at the door. Call 082 752 1376 for more information. Theatre Arts is situated at Methodist Church Hall, corner of Milton Road and Wesley Street, Observatory. Parking is available in the area.