POPArt Centre celebrates 5 years of tangy, razor-sharp theatre
May16

POPArt Centre celebrates 5 years of tangy, razor-sharp theatre

POPArt Theatre & Performing Arts Centre celebrated their 5th year in existence this weekend with another instalment of 24 Hours in The City. At 6pm on Friday evening, six writers randomly drew a different genre and began writing six short scripts. After a speed dating session of sorts between writers, directors and actors, the pieces were cast and rehearsals started on Saturday morning, continuing until 6pm that evening. The end products were a scintillating adventure in dreams, heartache, nostalgia, decadence, laughter and insanity.         Split personalities born from repressed and unfulfilled dreams comfort, and compete for first place in the mind of the main character in A Blemished Mind. In Queens of Yeoville two very different women try very hard to resurrect long-shattered dreams by reminiscing and resenting. Velvet Curtain, a fabulously kitsch soap opera parody featuring Baker Street (UK) as theme song, had the audience in stitches with closeted lesbian lovers, dangerous liaisons, amnesia and attempted murder.     Sound and light effects used in the paranormal noir Leila proved that a stage production can raise the hair on your neck as well as any mystery thriller on screen. Madness flowered onstage in Who is Michaelangelo?. The audience looks into a flat where a pair of lovers has deteriorated into delusion, isolated irreality and hurtful derision.           Concluding the evening, Fat Cat – The Musical thrilled the audience with brilliantly exaggerated characters and absurdist metaphors for addiction. Clever, sharp tragicomedy that sidles up to the audience with an ominous sexiness. Founders Hayleigh Evans and Orly Shapiro have created one of the most edgy cultural spaces in Johannesburg. From the small, poster-clad entranceway that also houses the bar, to the dark performance space where you sit within reach of the acts, POPArt is brimming with all the raw and gritty shimmer of the underground art scene. If that’s something you thought only existed in Paris, London, New York or Berlin, think again – you can find it here at POPArt.   For upcoming shows and events go to https://popartcentre.co.za/ or follow them on:  Facebook: P.O.P. Art Twitter: @POPArtJHB...

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Freedom to Dance at Arts Alive
Aug26

Freedom to Dance at Arts Alive

There’s one week to go till the City of Johannesburg’s nearly month-long Arts Alive festival kicks off on the 3rd of September  – we’re hoping you’ve already decided which part of the festival calls your name and booked your baby-sitter.  This year we’re spoilt for choice with a broad line up of dance, comedy, theatre, film, visual arts, poetry and music to choose from throughout September…  We’re going to be covering the Freedom to Dance House and Hip Hop event at Carfax that kicks off the festival  – here’s the deal: The stage is set, the line-up has been finalised, finishing touches are being made and the smell of excitement and anticipation is thick in the air. It’s that time of year again… the 2009 17th annual Joburg Arts Alive International Festival set to take place in Johannesburg between the 3rd and 27th of September. In addition to the numerous captivating art disciplines set to grace urban central Johannesburg such as, theatre, dance (from classical to contemporary and street), visual arts, comedy, spoken word and poetry, the festival will also play host to the Arts Alive Freedom to Dance extravaganza, taking place at Carfax – Jozi on Friday the 4th of September 2009. Aimed at youth, this evening will whet the appetite of the toughest music critic with performances by leading house and hip hop DJ’s from South Africa. Guests on the evening will also be privy tothe electric legendary beats of international house sensation Rocco who by reputation exceeds all expectations. A regular on the Europe, USA and Asia house scenes, Rocco’s Deep House is rapidly growing in popularity among South African audiences. Rocco has previously been welcomed to South African shores and has played for an astounding 3000 spectators. His most recent release called “Someday” on Real Tone Records struck a chord with international and South African audiences alike having made its way to the Traxsource’s charts for 3 weeks and already supported by Louie Vega, Mr V. and Laurent Garnier! The House Floor at Carfax will also play host to many talented South African DJ’S including MacG, Mo Flava, Willie, Oskido, Bouer and Monde. And who could forget to mention the infamously popular Black Coffee who began his DJ career in 1994 while still in High School? His Deep/Afro House, Soulful Lounge, and broken beats are known around the country and are testament to his excellence. If Hip Hop is more your scene then get ready for an evening filled with insane beats and wicked rhymes. With appearances by Beatoven, Vigi, and Tholi B the evening is set to rock all the way through to the...

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JHB: Cartoon theatre to blow your mind
Feb28

JHB: Cartoon theatre to blow your mind

Theatre lovers, creative directors, event conceptualisers, directors and animators, make sure to Czech this out! The Black Light Theatre of Prague is bringing Life is Life, its madcap ultra-violet cartoon spectacular, to Johannesburg in March, giving audiences a mind-altering visual treat that will be hard to forget. Bookings at computicket or the theatre office. This acclaimed “cartoon theatre” show from the Czech Republic will be staged at the University of Johannesburg’s Arts Centre from 18 to 22 March 2009, for five shows only. František Kratochvil’s Black Light Theatre of Prague features a 10-member company from the Divaldo Metro, based in Prague, which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and culture-rich cities in the world. Using simple graphic lines, created with special ultra-violet light effects, Life is Life engages and challenges the imagination for 90 minutes, astounding, surprising and delighting with its ingenuity. A single line can become a chair, a car, a cloud or a horse – without using a single word, the Black Theatre performers magic up a wonderland of poetry, humour and irony. The show has its origins in the “black cabinet” tradition, which involves characters dressed in black moving against a black background and therefore becoming imperceptible to the human eye. Among Czech theatre practitioners, this illusionist practice has evolved into an artform that strives to express messages in an unusual way. Recognising the potential of the black cabinet technique, sculptor and graphic designer František Kratochvil incorporated drawing with comedy to free the line of its creator and take on a life and personality of its own. The result is cartoon theatre – a non-verbal form of stage craft that enchants children and adults, intellectuals and ordinary people in search of out-of-the-ordinary entertainment. If you loved the quirky Swiss illusionists Mummenschanz at the same venue last year, chances are the interactive animations, dance and pantomime of Life is Life will be right up your alley. Catch this family-friendly show at the UJ Arts Centre in Auckland Park, on 18, 19, 20 and 21 March at 8.15pm, and on Sunday, 22 March, at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced from R150, with discounts for students and senior citizens. Book at the theatre box-office or at...

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Puppetry of the … what?
Aug22

Puppetry of the … what?

If you consider yourself prudish or body-shy, get over your fears by hanging loose at the Puppetry of the Penis in SA this Spring: For over a decade the Cape Town International Comedy Festival has put the Mother City on the world entertainment map with Africa’s largest and funniest comedy festival. This year the Comedy Festival’s Danger Zone will make sure you never look at male genitalia in the same way again, when it presents the global comedy hit Puppetry of the Pen!s. Despite its provocative title, the below-the-belt show is neither rude nor lewd , however it is – by necessity – performed in the nude. The ingenuity, resourcefulness and dexterity of the show’s creators, Simon Morley and David “Friendy” Friend has had audiences gasping with laugher since its extraordinarily successful debut at the 1998 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. With a stretch of the imagination and some other bits, they manipulate their genitals into various “installations”: get an eye-full of the Eiffel Tower, marvel at the slow-emerging molusc and be reasonably repulsed by the hamburger. A camera and a large screen mean that even those at the back of the theatre peeking through their fingers absorb every detail. After being a runaway hit at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and voted “Outright Best Show”, it ended up touring Australia for eight months. The show was then unleashed at the 2000 Edinburgh International Fringe Festival where West End producer David Johnson realized the potential of the sell-out show and the world was no longer safe from the Art of Genital Origami! Since its West End debut in 2001, the show’s popularity and subsequent growing international demand has meant that the duo has been exposing themselves to a wider, global audience. Puppetry of the Pen!s is one of the most successful, confronting and bizarre theatrical experiences of our time with up to 8 companies running at one time. It has been presented in 7 different languages in over 20 countries. South Africans will join the legions of POTP fans that include celebrities Naomi Campbell, Elton John, Bono, The Beckhams and Hugh Grant, whose member has also enjoyed the spotlight for illicit puppetry of its own! This time around the show will be hosted by one of the UK’s hottest female comedians, Ninia Benjamin. Dubbed “The Comedy Assassin” by the British media, Ninia Benjamin is well-known to many South Africans as one of the hilarious 3 Non-Blondes on BBC Prime. POTP will continue their tour of South Africa after performing at the Cape Town Comedy Festival to include showing Johannesburg audience members, theirs. Puppetry of the Penis Tour dates for South...

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Book for a MUMMENSCHANZ treat Now!
May29

Book for a MUMMENSCHANZ treat Now!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to catch this legendary theatre group for a taste of their magic as they bring their much-loved performances to South Africa in June and July, watch a Youtube clip here, but otherwise, get booking. MUMMENSCHANZ, the Swiss theatre group described by magician David Copperfield as “truly magical” will be touring South Africa with their visual spectacle of illusion and make-believe in June-July with performances scheduled in Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg. At the 2006 Edinburgh Comedy Festival they were branded with “…more imagination and invention in two or three minutes of a single sketch than many artists have in their whole show…” During their Australian tour in the same year, the Sunday Morning Herald praised the show as “…a dazzling and affecting spectacle…” After more than 30 years of performing, they still get glowing reviews and attract packed houses wherever they perform – be it Australia, Europe, India or the USA. By using everyday objects and materials, such as cardboard boxes, rolls of toilet paper, masking tape, refuse bags, etc., they create ingenious costumes and expressive masks that transform into fascinating and funny creatures on stage. The MUMMENSCHANZ characters portray everyday human situations, effortlessly understood by audiences of all ages and across all cultures. MUMMENSCHANZ started out in the seventies with the goal to create a non-verbal theatrical language that would transcend the traditional barriers of language and culture. They have been hailed as revolutionary in their field, combining masks, mime, movement and lighting to create a unique kind of visual theatre that keeps audiences spell-bound. The masks belong to three different groups: versatile face masks, half-body or full body masks and three-dimensional masks. They achieved their first major success at the Avignon Festival, which led to engagements in Europe and North America. Subsequent tours throughout the seventies and eighties in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia including Festivals in Edinburgh, Spoleto, Berlin and Belgrade were met with overwhelming enthusiasm. On Broadway MUMMENSCHANZ defied all expectations. Hailed as “inventive, imaginative and sparkling with wit”, they remained at the Bijou Theatre for a three-year run, becoming a household name, an unprecedented feat for a group whose show does not contain any words or music. Their innovative style of theatrical performance, which inspired many other artists, was now fully recognized by the public and the critics. Film, television and advertisement work followed, bringing the company to an even wider audience. Mummenschanz “3 x 11” will be loved by young and old. See it from 10 -15 June at the SA State Theatre in Pretoria, 17 June – 5 July at the Baxter Theatre...

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