Theatre Scene Cape Town
The Brett Bailey conceptualised CONSTELLATIONS: CAMPFIRE GATHERINGS opened this week at Spier Wine Farm. The inspiration for this open air theatre experience is rooted in the pandemic, in fact it is a response to it. Described as “a space where those who hunger for live, meaningful encounters and safe access to nature can come together", it truly gives audiences the space to breathe and escape.
Upon arrival the audience is split into three groups, as each group is led away “into the woods” –the theme for the experience– by three guardians. Our group was then further split up into three groups of 9 with a guardian leading us through the adventure, which Bailey describes as journeys within journeys.
The first campfire we visited saw improviser Megan Choritz welcoming our group with a warning that the truth is not what you think it is, and that you have to find it (if you can) within the story she spins. As soon as you think you have her ever-adapting character figured out, she adds another twist to the tale. In true improvisation style, she plays of the energy of the (albeit silent) group gathering at her camp. Although we can’t say that the tale we were treated to will be the one you experience on your walk, we are pretty sure that there will be a shared element of eeriness. As Choritz spins her tale, while darkness swallows, you will have only the flames of the campfire to help you find the truth in the ghostly shadows.
Next we were guided to our second campfire, walking towards the music of FreeMan LoTS. His performance is a mixture of traditional music, spoken word and affirmations as he brings you into his tribal circle to reveal the power of ancient roots and connections. With this campfire experience you are left to look inwards as you reflect on the power of the repetitive words and music: it entrances and enchants at the same time. While listening to the rhythmic poetry you may catch yourself pondering the fact that we are all rooted in history and never really alone. It is a magical experience observing FreeMan LoTS and the flames dance through the shadows.
Our last encounter was a truly mystical one, where the cleverly imitated sound of waves invited us into a poetic portal of listening. Here we met Malika Ndlovu. At her campfire Ndlovu gave us the freedom to experience the moment as “we breath it into being”. She truly captured our imagination with “visions unseen” as she, through poetry melody and fragments of stories, encouraged everyone to hear their true voice. A highlight of the night, this was a very freeing and empowering experience.
Our experience of CONSTELLATIONS may not be the same one you will be treated to. In fact, we are fairly certain no two people will have the same take on this, as it is very much dependent on the route you take and the extent of the emotional experience you open yourself up to. As with most things in life, the journey you go on is luck of the draw, or fate (depending on your perspective) … or perhaps it’s simply written in the constellations.
Dare yourself to step into the woods and confront your understanding of life and survival and see which guardian takes you on a journey of light in these campfire gatherings.
As with the performances, you have a lot of flexibility in determining the extent of your full CONSTELLATIONS experience.
Tickets start at R180 per person (including a complimentary glass of Spier Creative Block wine). However, if you want to make a lovely date night of it, R850 per couple not only gives you a wonderful theatre night out under the stars, but also includes a sunset picnic and a complimentary bottle of Spier Creative Block wine. Want to budget down a bit but still make it special? Why not go for the R500 per couple option which includes a mini-picnic and a complimentary bottle of Spier Creative Block wine to enjoy before you go on your campfire walk.
If you are lucky enough and the Spier Hotel isn’t fully booked (or perhaps has a cancellation on your night), why not expand on the experience and turn it into a fantastic staycation. That is the ultimate theatrical escapism experience. We were treated to this full package experience and absolutely loved it.
Tickets are available online through Webtickets. You have until 18 December 2021 to go into the woods with the guardians in CONSTELLATIONS: CAMPFIRE GATHERINGS. All Covid 19 protocols are observed, and the fact that the event is outside gives that added element of safety. Please remember to wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking a distance to get to the campfires –rather leave your stilettos at home for this one– and bring along a jacket just in case.