CONSTELLATIONS: THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. Spier Wine Farm
KAREN RUTTER reviews
Constellations, the dreamchild of theatre savant Brett Bailey, once again encamps amidst the trees in the forested gardens of Spier Wine Farm. The annual outdoor event sees audience members divided into small groups, who are then guided through the dark wilderness to a series of fireside circles, where solo performers await. Over the years, these “entertainers” have included musicians, philosophers and actors, linked by the common magic of spinning a story in the dark around a camp fire.
Constellations has followed various formats, from how long each acts lasts, to who one actually gets to see in one night. This time around, you get the chance to experience six 15-minute performances. Each audience group will see the same act, but not at the same time.
Interestingly, I found much more thematic consistency then in previous years, from the colour-coded costumes of each performer, to the actual brief they were required to respond to. This took the form of a series of darkly wicked poems, which are interpreted in different ways, roughly following the title of The Garden of Good and Evil.
Let your imagination play
So Blade Zimba’s Balderdash is a fast-talking car guard who regales his audience with – well, what could be balderdash, or maybe not. In Ashes, Megan Choritz reads a creepy and hard-hitting story to her deceased husband, who’s kept in a jar on her shelf. Siphenathi Mayekiso is looking for love in Hanging Out, while Gita Galina silently dances to the noises in her head in Voices. The two musicians in the programme I saw – Moodship and Sky Dlala – both make acoustic magic with guitar or uhadi and voice.
Personally, I loved this format – 15 minutes is long enough to immerse yourself in each encounter whilst still having enthusiasm for the next unexpected episode. And the variety of each act ensured delight with the programme a a whole.
Constellations is a magical experience, the chance to slip away and let your imagination play while stars flicker, fires crackle and frogs chant. I’d strongly recommend it.
What: Constellations: The Garden of Good and Evil
Where and when: Spier Wine Farm from 3 to 18 November 2023 from 7.30 to 9.30pm
Tickets: R250 per person, or R375 for a double ticket including a cheese & charcuterie platter. All tickets include a complimentary glass of Spier’s award-winning wines. Tickets are available through Webtickets
This event is not suited to children under 16