‘Izithombe 2094’ is a site-specific play performed in Bertrams from 27 August to 7 September, and based on the stories of its residents.
The ‘Bertrams Stories Project’ started in October 2015 to explore the everyday experiences and ways of living in the Bertrams, Lorentzville and Judith’s Paarl area through participatory drama and art. The result is ‘Izithombe 2094’: a site specific play performed in the streets and public space of the area with a small cast of professional actors performing alongside local participants.
Lindiwe Matshikiza and Toni Morkel, theatremakers who have long histories with the area, are the tour guide anchors for the play and Market Theatre Laboratory graduate, theatremaker and storyteller, Baeletsi Tsatsi is the assistant director with cameo performance moments. ‘Izithombe 2094’ is the culmination of director, Alex Halligey’s doctoral research, through the African Centre for Cities and the University of Cape Town’s drama department, into how drama and theatre can work with knowledges of the everyday in city spaces.
According to Tsatsi, the project is allowing them the privilege of “discovering what is hidden in plain sight”. Matshikiza describes Bertrams as “a handful of mismatched inheritances”, with Morkel reiterating this idea: “Bertrams is a microcosm of South Africa – the Real South Africa”.
Starting and finishing at Twilsharp Studios, 40/42 Gordon Road, the play takes the form of a walking tour with live performances and installations along the way. The stories, characters and vignettes woven together in the production have all been drawn from work with Bertrams Junior School, Bienvenu Refugee Shelter for Women and Children, Gerald Fitzpatrick House (for senior citizens), Bambanani Organic Vegetable Garden and countless conversations with people who have or are currently living and working in this cluster of three small suburbs at the head of the Bezuidenhout Valley, postcode 2094.
The play is accompanied by an exhibition at Twilsharp Studios of art objects and found objects, sound installations and short video pieces from the playmaking process. Audiences are invited to view the exhibition after the play’s performance.
The research and development phase of the playmaking process is supported by the National Arts Council; and could not have happened without the generosity of the people of Bertrams. The primary research is conducted through the African Centre for Cities and the University of Cape Town’s Drama Department, with grants from the National Research Foundation and the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust.
‘Izithombe 2094’ takes place from 27 August to 7 September 2016, with performances beginning at Twilsharp Studios – 40/42 Gordon Road, Bertrams. There is guarded parking available at Twilsharp. Booking is essential as capacity is limited, and can be done via firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapp on 084 256 6470. Tickets are on a pay what you can basis. Sunblock, hats, umbrellas and water are advisable; as well as a little cash if you want to buy something from a Spaza along the way.
Dates: 27 August – 7 September 2016
Times: 10:30am and 14:00/14:30 on specific days (duration: approx 2½ hours)
Address: Meet at Twilsharp Studios: 40/42 Gordon Road, Bertrams
Cost: Pay what you can