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PRESS: Theatre Duo to present the world premiere of OF LOSS – HANDLE WITH CARE at The Baxter

Fahiem Stellenboom

 

The Baxter Theatre proudly collaborates with Standard Bank Young Artists for Theatre, Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, known as Theatre Duo, to present the world premiere of, of Loss – handle with care, at The Baxter this October.

The Baxter Theatre proudly collaborates with Standard Bank Young Artists for Theatre 2022, Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, known as Theatre Duo, to present the world premiere of, of Loss – handle with care, at the Baxter Flipside, from 14 to 21 October 2023 at 7.30pm nightly, with Saturday matinee performances at 11am on 14 October and at 2pm on 21 October.

 

This brand-new work is an equally physical and metaphysically probing production that investigates and challenges the continued possession and exhibition of stolen African artefacts in Western public institutions abroad. It serves as a metaphor to revive the conversation around intentional restitution. of Loss – handle with care not only poses questions around this unjustly paraded theft and the deep generational grief that it has struck, but also encourages tilting the mirror inwards and begs the question, “what is it that I have lost?”.

 

Theatre Duo exercise their evocative theatre-making approach to storytelling, through their constant focus on intrinsic text and movement practice, as well as their emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration between all artists involved in the production’s process, from the cast to members of the creative team and the technical team.

 

The vibrant ensemble cast is made up of Awethu Hleli (Knuckle City, Blood Psalms), Nolufefe Ntshuntshe (Life & Times of Michael K, When We Awake), Mphumzi Nontshinga (Sainthood, Hlakananya The Musical), Lyle October (Hold Still, The Rangers) and Tamzin Williams (Ways of Dying, Bossiekop).

 

Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (Theatre Duo) direct the new work, with Ketsia Velaphi as assistant director and music and sound design by Jannous Aukema. Set (Patrick Curtis), costumes (Marisa Steenkamp) and lighting (Bamanye Yeko) designs, are done in consultation with Theatre Duo, movement direction is by Ernest ‘Ginger’ Baleni and vocals by Ntokozo Zwane and Lubabalo Velebayi.

 

This operatically poetic and experimental epic resolutely explores the damages that this injustice has caused for the respective communities that were stolen from - the unrest of their sacerdotal ancestry, the irreversible experience of disorientation from their identity (both in the physical realm and the spiritual realm). This provides a portal to voyage through the loss of personal ‘artefacts’ and the void of grief that they continue to live in  and through this, find a way to their reclamation and thus, begin the road to healing.

 

Through this collaborative method, Theatre Duo and the cast have created a provocative stylistic language through the radical merging of ethereal movement and transporting text and sonics, allowing us to journey through and interrogate this ancient and yet also extremely current human issue of dispossession, discount and disregard, all in the arguably counterproductive pursuit of Western ‘art’ and collective and thus, personal recovery and discovery.

 

Theatre Duo have produced original creative and theatrical works in South Africa and their work has toured most parts of the South Africa and internationally, including Namibia, Eswatini, Germany, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom.

 

Their works have earned them critic’s picks and awards which include Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre 2022 , Cape Town Fringe Fresh Award for Performance, Cape Town Fringe Fresh Creative Award for directing, Standard Bank Ovation Awards, Naledi Theatre Award for Best Production for young audiences, Naledi Theatre Award for Best Solo performance, FUSE International Award for Best International Performance (UK), ICA Fellowship Award and ACT (Arts and Culture Trust) Impact prize finalist.

 

of Loss – handle with care runs at the Baxter Flipside for a short season from 14 to 21 September 2023 at 7.30m, with Saturday matinees on 14 October at 11am and 21 October at 2pm. There is an age restriction of 13 years and parental guidance is advised. Booking is through Webtickets online (www.baxter.co.za) or at Pick n Pay stores.


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