Patrons can expect another warm welcome and edgy line up of Fringe theatre productions this year at The Edge all on offer at the Princess Alice Hall, 8 African Street during the National Arts Festival in Makhanda from 27 June to 7 July 2019. From funny to Faustian, the line-up The Edge collective has on offer this year is possibly one of its most exciting yet!
In its thirteen-year history of providing a supportive environment for artists and audiences at the National Arts Festival Fringe, this year’s mix of cutting edge artistry highlights the diversity of South African storytelling talent, with shows promising to both please and provoke audiences.
“Our lucky year thirteen sees The Edge fulfilling its commitment to not only bringing the best of the best to our loyal audiences but also fostering relationships among our theatre community. I'm incredibly excited to see work from the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal all in the same space alongside dangerously exciting newcomers. This is what the festival is all about!” explains The Edge co-organiser, Wynne Bredenkamp.
Peter Mitchell presents a rendition of the classic text THE BLUE PERIOD OF MILTON VAN DER SPUY. Named after the poet, Milton is an artist whose talents lie… elsewhere. Playwright Greig Coetzee’s most simple, and yet the most complex character is brought to life by award-winning actor, Francis Mennigke. It is, at once, a whimsical celebration and a playful mockery of art in all its forms.
Contagious Theatre presents a range of returning award-winning works. Audiences have the last chance to expect the unexpected in James Cairns’ JAMES CAIRNS AGAINST HUMANITY. This is improvisation theatre at its best in the hands of one of the best. Based on the card game Cards Against Humanity, it relies on input from the audience, while the performer creates a story from nothing but 5 facts established at the start of the performance. Each show is completely different and no one, not even the performer knows where it will go and what the story will be. Cairns’ is a festival veteran and any opportunity to watch him at work should not be missed.
Contagious Theatre’s 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Award winner SILKWORM, also makes a return to the Edge. SILKWORM is an evocative exploration of the ordinary things that make life, well, extraordinary. The story is told to us through the eyes of the at once gregarious and socially awkward Georgina Aurora Clementine. Georgina is about to have the single most important day of her life. On this day, she takes the audience on a journey that reveals how the small things are, ultimately, big things. Silkworm is directed by Jenine Collocott and stars Naledi-nominated Taryn Bennett, with additional dramaturgy by Nick Warren.
As always, The Edge aims to create a platform for established, as well as young and upcoming theatre-makers. 2018 winner of the Theatre Arts Admin's Emerging Director's Bursary, Qondiswa James, is one such upcoming director. Her play, A FAINT PATCH OF LIGHT, is an interpretation of Athol Fugard's Statements after an Arrest under the Immorality Act. Following two women having an affair in a township in South Africa, the play aims at engaging with black queer struggles. The women talk about their fears, their hopes, their struggles; and every so often they hear the barking of violent men just outside their window.
Kei-Ella Loewe is another emerging director that shares the Edge stage this year. WINGING IT! THE TURBULENT REVELATIONS OF MEGHAN AND SHIVAN follows the journey of two very bad South African flight attendants, who work for an equally bad South African airline called Air Bermuda. The dynamic team of young creatives, Kei-Ella Loewe, Tazme Pillay and Rosa-Karoo Loewe, take the audience on the fun-filled flight FU666.
Award-winning playwright, Wessel Pretorius (UNDONE) presents THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAN COETZEE, a deconstructed Passion Play that follows the story of a rural Afrikaans boy who believes he’s been called upon by God to lead the Afrikaner to salvation. We get to know four of his so-called disciples, including the woman he fell in love with. THE GOSPEL is a portrait of lost faith, changing times and a search for new identities. Featuring David Viviers, Wessel Pretorius & Emma Kotze.
Edge-favourite Stuart Lightbody has spent over 20 years studying and sharing the art of magic. ARTIFICE is a fascinating performance of sleight of hand magic from this winner of the Theatre Award at the Fringe World Festival in Australia (2018). Lightbody invites the audience to delve deeper into each moment of astonishment. In the right hands, there truly is art in artifice!
The multi-award winning TheatreDuo team of Billy Langa and Mahlatsi Mokgonyana return with TSWALO; winner of a Standard Bank Ovation Award and the Cape Town Fringe Fresh Performer and Creative Award. Begging questions of being, becoming and unbecoming, TSWALO is a celebration of the art of solo performance, a tale told through poetry and physicality as these mediums entwine to interrogate the rules that govern life on earth. Through the performer’s expression of his spiritual ‘source’, the audience is invited to walk their own journey through this meditative engagement with power, creation, politics, connection, and intuition. In addition to this wonderful piece, TheatreDuo brings us A PLACE OF KNOWING. This play seeks to acknowledge the contemporary voices and stories of young people living in South Africa. Five performers transform their personal accounts into a series of images, songs & monologues where they unpack and explore the complexities of the relationships they have with their parents and how these relationships shape their lives. A PLACE OF KNOWING is a thematic exploration of mental health, spirituality, the absence of parents, as well as the intricacies of parent-child relationships. Thuto Gaasenwe, Ntumekelelo Siyephu, Anathi Conjwa, Sokuphila Mkosana and Sibulele Sabisa bring these stories to life.
From 3 - 6 July the Edge is presenting the all-new ON THE EDGE: THE LATE NIGHT SHOW. This late night show hosts a variety of artists that are given the opportunity to collaborate and arrange unique shows in addition to their performances at the festival. Artists include Rob van Vuuren, who will be celebrating his 25th performance at his 25th National Arts Festival, as well as Bottomless Coffee, a multi-instrumentalist Folk-Rock duo led by husband and wife team Lourens and Esté Rabé, making songs about life, love, blues and breakfast . Every night offers a unique show, so come and see what this edgy late night show entails!
Building on foundations of previous years, The Edge promises the return of their legendary Front of House experience in partnership with local Makana entrepreneur Mlindi Nhanha, guaranteeing greatexperiences for audiences, both on and off the stage.
(Source for all photos: www.nationalartsfestival.co.za)