LA PUCELLE FILMED
We were joined by the Nigerian choreographer Segun Adelfina on our continued development of La Pucelle. Segun ran some wonderful dance workshops with the company of four women and created a whole new battle sequence for the piece. We took the performance on a short tour of community venues in Westminster (including the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital) before travelling to Sandwich in South East England where we filmed the piece. The film will be available on DVD in the New Year.
With the International Workshop Festival we were able to bring our colleagues Umzi Afrika from New Brighton to the UK for a tour of their new play Ghetto Goats. Umzi Afrika company write, devise and rehearse in a school classroom in New Brighton, South Africa, under the inspiration and guidance of the legendary Winston Ntshona who created the celebrated Serpent Player plays in the same location 30 years ago with Athol Fugard and John Kani.
Regularly working together, they have appeared in a production of 'Waiting for Godot', directed by Ntshona that performed in both South Africa and Europe. They have run workshops on the use of multiple first languages in education in the Eastern Cape and have given performances and workshops at the University of Port Elizabeth.
Cast: Sindile Dyasi, Mzwanele "Zwai" Mgijima, Mxolisi Nkanjeni, Xolani Ngesi
Writer and Director: Mzwanele "Zwai" Mgijima
Associate Directors: Winston Ntshona and Luke Dixon
Lead Artist for London workshop programme: Noel Greig
"All I can say is the biggest thank you in the whole world, to the men who have contributed in my career: Winston Ntshona and Luke Dixon who are still on my side." - Zwai
Review from Sarah Vanstone, BBC Radio Oxford
Zwai Mgijima's Ghetto Goats performed at Brookes University is a colourful picture of displaced and scavenging men in the town of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This one act play between four actors shares their stories, dreams, fears and ambitions for the future.
The language between the actors keeps switching between South-African and English, making the action sometimes hard to understand; but the South African cultural vibe and the emotions of the four characters is clear. The conversation is constantly opening into bouts of song, full of rhythm and feeling. In fact, the play feels more like a musical. As the play goes on, the characters argue and agonize between their faith in God, and of their precarious position in the world. Their comic squabbling and dancing together provides much of the entertainment. The believer of the group, who reads his book and later sees his ancestor in the night, is prompted into a search for his family and roots. This resolve comes to nothing however, and the men continue to exist as displaced ghetto scavengers.
The fact that the action is contained within one setting gives the extra feeling of the flatness in life; there is nowhere else to go for these men. Beginning and ending on the same scene, the lives of the characters come full circle, suggesting there is no way out for these Ghetto Goats. This touring production by Umzi Afrika gives an easy-going insight of life on the streets; where everyone has a story to tell. The recurring line "You peed on me!" sums up the plight of these street men.
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