Woordfees: Tjieng Tjang Tjerries

March 10, 2018

Wanneer ’n jong student na haar tuisdorp terugkeer, kom vrae uit die verlede haar treiter. Hierdie produksie is deel van die US Woordfees, en kaartjies is by Computicket of by die deur beskikbaar.

A young student (Gretchen Ramsden) returns to her hometown and finds that her relationship with her mother (Celeste Matthews-Wannenbürgh) hasn’t been made less complicated with time. This stage version of Jolyn Phillips’s short story collection Tjieng tjang tjerries & Other Short Stories, adapted by the author and Jason Jacobs, presents a fragmented look at the lives of a family shaken by tragedy. 

While the concept seems promising, the narrative soon becomes hard to follow, and the production reflects little of what was hinted at in the festival programme description. The piece’s many different elements, though well-executed, serve only to confound the audience. While the poetic dialogue is compelling, some of the movement seems less than specific to the piece, and the set design and prop choices beg more questions than they answer. One wonders whether it might not have benefited the story more to focus on a more fluid incorporation of the very intriguing and at times quite miraculous music (also by Jolyn Phillips) heard throughout the play. 

This production, which also features Dustin Beck, Kaylin Coetzee, Gershwin Mias, Byron Klassen, and Marlon Swartz, starts with a lot of potential, but unfortunately its considerable energy and innovative approach to storytelling don’t add up to a satisfying theatrical experience. 

Tjieng Tjang Tjerries can be seen as part of the US Woordfees on the 10th and 11th of March. Tickets are available through Computicket or at the door.  



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