Press: Creative explosion for premiere of contemporary epic Four Small Gods

October 18, 2015

A creative explosion of talent will bring Joanna’s Evans’ Four Small Gods to life on stage at Magnet Theatre from 30 October to 10 November.


The play was the winning entry for the Imbewu Trust’s 2014 SCrIBE Scriptwriting competition, with the top prize of having the play produced for a professional run in Cape Town.  


At the tender age of 25, Evans is already a celebrated theatre maker, including a Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award winner for The Year of the Bicycle, the 2012 Mavis Taylor award for Theatre Making and, most recently, Best International Show at the 2015 Iran International Theatre Festival for Children and Youth. She will direct Four Small Gods and has assembled a stellar team of crack creative minds to present a visual feast.

Four Small Gods is a comic-tragedy about four animals in a boat after the world has flooded. It re-writes the ancient flood myth to examine contemporary relationships between people, animals and land and to deconstruct hierarchical understandings of worth. The Gods reach into the flood and pull out the last four survivors: a Dog, a Panther, a Rhino and a Human. As they negotiate their survival on a storm-tossed boat barriers between species, as well as barriers of language, are destabilised.


The cast includes Iman Isaacs (City of Violence; Full Stops on Your Face; Nat);  multiple award winner Richard September (Rondomsrik; Nat; Warrior on Wheels); Amy Louise Wilson (The Book of Negroes; The Year of the Bicycle; Scrape); and Siya Sikawuti (Richard III; Return of the Ancestors; Othello).  Also featuring is young talent Nandipha Tavores Calburn and, making his stage debut, is artist Matthew King. 


A dream design team of Francois Knoetze (Designer) and John Withers (Sound Design) create the exciting stylised world that is neither animal nor human. 


Knoetze was one of Art South Africa’s Bright Young Things and his most recent work, Cape Mongo, was presented this year on the Main Programme at the National Arts Festival and Infecting the City. He has sourced all materials for the set of Four Small Gods from the Woodstock Drop off, to create an arresting wasteland of flotsam and jetsam. 

John Withers is a composer and performer, who has written music for the film Four Corners and productions such as The Year of the Bicycle. He is well known as the songwriter and member of the band John Wizards, who have performed at numerous international musical festivals including Glastonbury and Primavera.  Their self-titled album in 2013 was hailed by The Guardian (UK) as ‘the year’s most magical album’.


“I wanted to write a modern flood myth about humans and other animals that could speak to the root of humans’ assumptions of ownership and superiority. I worked with archetypal characters and motifs– the ark, the chicken and the egg, the knock-knock joke - to disrupt systems that govern our ways of thinking, says Evans. “In the end humour became very important – when you take a step back and look at human logic things can get pretty hilarious. So the play is very funny, although ultimately it is a tragedy.”


“We are delighted to be hosting Four Small Gods, a deserving winner of SCrIBE 2014” says Samantha de Romijn, co-founder of the Imbewu Trust.  “It explores contemporary issues, breaks the boundaries of theatrical convention and inspires the imagination. We can’t wait to see the full production.”


Neil Coopen, 2014 SCrIBE judge and Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, comments “Four Small Gods is a rich text, that explores archetypes in a tragically funny and profound way. Evans works with ancient and contemporary mythologies and intertwines these into an absurdly quirky, yet deeply reflexive exploration into communication and empathy, and offers a refreshing perspective into the 'tragedy of the commons' in a zoologically rich theatrical experience."


The Imbewu Trust is a non-profit organization which was founded to promote the development of contemporary South African theatre and arts and to help showcase it on an international stage. It seeks to create an accessible community of varied voices that can flourish through collaboration, resourcefulness and innovation. The Trust established the SCrIBE Scriptwriting competition to provide new opportunities for local writers to fully develop their work. The SCrIBE panel comprises a group of seasoned theatre practitioners.


Four Small Gods will be presented at Magnet Theatre from 30 October to 10 November 2015 at 7.30pm nightly, except Sundays.  Tickets cost R90 with R60 for concessions (students and pensioners) and R50 for block bookings for groups of ten or more. Bookings can be made at Tickets to the preview on Friday 30 October cost R60. Tickets on Mondays are two for the price of one. PG 12


Magnet Theatre is situated at Corner of Lower Main and St Michael’s Roads in Observatory. Ample parking is available next to the Theatre.

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