Antigone (not quite/quiet), directed by Mark Fleishman, is the first production in a series of four by UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and Magnet Theatre. It explores the concept of tragedy for a short season at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 18 to 28 September 2019.
At the beginning of 2019, the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS) – previously the Drama Department and School of Dance – embarked on a five-year research project on Re-imagining Tragedy from Africa and the Global South (RETAGS).
Led by Fleishman and Mandla Mbothwe, the project is made possible through funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Part of the project involves the making and creation of four new ‘tragedies’ with partners Magnet and Baxter Theatre Centre.
The concept of the aftermath
Subtitled Ninganiki Okungcwele Ezinjeni which is isiXhosa for “Give not unto dogs sacred things”, Antigone (not quite/quiet), is not a production of Sophocles’ Antigone, but rather a series of responses to the original play. “It engages with the concept of the aftermath: the tragedy of our particular aftermath in post-1994 South Africa and the aftermath of tragedy as a form,” explains Fleishman.
He worked closely with Neo Muyanga, Jennie Reznek, Faniswa Yisa, Craig Leo, Ina Wichterich and Mandisa Vundla for creative input. Performers are drawn from the CTDPS postgraduate cohort and trainees at Magnet Theatre, who were seen at the National Arts Festival in Makanda (Grahamstown), in G7: Okwe-Bokhwe, directed by Mandla Mbothwe. They are led by Jennie Reznek with Abigail Mei, Balindile ka Ngcobo, Carlo Daniels, Jason Jacobs, Luxolo Mboso, Kanya Viljoen, Motlatji Mjamba, Sityhilelo Makupula, Sivenathi Macibela, Sive Gubangxa, Siyavuya Gqumehlo, Sizwe Lubengu and Yvonne Msebenzi.
Fleishman continues, “The broader research project proposes to take the concept of ‘tragedy’ – from the very beginnings of theatre in its European manifestation – and to reimagine it from a perspective in Africa, that is, at once, directed at the complex challenges of our global postcolonial present and towards our possible futures.”
The Re-imagining Tragedy from Africa and the Global South (RETAGS) project is also inspired by the concept of African Tragedy as outlined by Wole Soyinka for example in his essay from the 1960s, ‘The Fourth Stage’, where he states that “there is something about these plays and their playing that appeals to African theatre-makers, performers and audiences”. It is further inspired by a reading of the recent work of David Scott and of Hans-Thies Lehmann.
What: Antigone (not quite/quiet)
Where and when: 18 to 28 September 2019
Photographs: Mark Wessels