Izithombe 2094 was a site-specific play made and performed in 2016 in Johannesburg’s oldest existing suburban area, a cluster of three suburbs called Bertrams, Judith’s Paarl and Lorentzville. It arose out of a year-long participatory public art process that was the major research project for Alex Halligey’s doctoral research. Halligey uses theatre and performance to explore how we make spaces through our actions in relation to each other and how these spaces come to have an identity as provisional, ever-emergent ‘places’. This is place as geographic location, but also as attachment, as knowing, as familiarity with people, things, landscapes and a particular way of being that they create together. The documentary and two audio clips offered here provide a window into this process of playmaking about place in the 2016 moment of Bertrams, Lorentzville and Judith’s Paarl. Theatre maker and scholar Mwenya Kabwe provides an audio reflection on the stakes of site-specific, participatory theatre work, and what arises when one reflects on a project like this in the uncertainty of our present time of responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on Izithombe 2094 in the time of Covid
Izithombe 2094 Interviews 1
Izithombe 2094 Interviews 2
Audio reflection for vNAF screening: Mwenya Kabwe
Director: Alex Halligey
Assistant director: Baeletsi Tsatsi
Cast: Lindiwe Matshikisa, Toni Morkel, Baeletsi Tsatsi
Videographer: Palesa Shongwe
Video editor: Dominique Little
Sound editing for audio tracks: Alex Halligey
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Alex Halligey has a PhD in Drama and Urban Studies through the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies and the African Centre for Cities and a Master’s degree in Performance Studies from New York University. Her research is concerned with how theatre and performance as participatory public art might help to explore the relationship between people and the built environment. She holds a post-doctoral research fellowship with the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, attached to the Wits School of Architecture and Planning in Johannesburg and teaches part-time at the Market Theatre Laboratory. Her monograph Participatory Theatre and the Urban Everyday: Place and Play in Johannesburg was published by Routledge in January 2020.
Mwenya B. Kabwe is a Zambian-born maker of theatre and performance, facilitator of creative processes, a performer, writer, arts educator and scholar with migrant tendencies. Kabwe’s creative practice is focused on contemporary African theatre and performance, immersive and site specific performance work, live art, collaborative and interdisciplinary art making and re-imagining African futures. She is currently an independent theatre maker and teacher at The Market Theatre Laboratory. Kabwe’s original performance work has been showcased at the Drill Hall in Johannesburg, the Spier Contemporary Exhibition, Out the Box Festival of Puppetry and Visual Performance in Cape Town, the Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts (ICA) in Cape Town, Afrovibes Festival in Amsterdam, Wits Main Theatre in Johannesburg, Rhodes University, The Market Theatre and The Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg. She has a Masters in Theatre and Performance from the University of Cape Town and is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town.
Palesa Nomanzi Shongwe is a South African born filmmaker and scholar. Her career in film began in 2004 as a script editor. Since then, she has worked as researcher, development producer, story-liner and script writer. Between 2015 and 2019, she joined the Film and Television Department at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Arts, as a lecturer in film history, theory and screenwriting. In 2019, she returned to independent filmmaking as a writer/director. She has written and directed two short films, Atrophy (and the fear of fading) 2010, which won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival in 2011 and has been featured at numerous festivals, including most recently, Vision Du Reel and VideoEx; and uNomalanga and the Witch (2015), which won Best Short Film at the Durban International Film Festival (2015) and The Baobab Short Film Prize at Film Africa, UK (2016). She was most recently part of the 5x5x5 Documentary Residency Program for which she completed her most recent experimental documentary 11 to 19.
Dominique Little is a South African filmmaker, actor (under the name Xavi Ocean) living in New York City. Her work explores our perception of reality, relationship to truth, the human struggle and beauty within. In Johannesburg she ran a creative collective whose works in film and design provoke thought and drive shift (currently in post-production with This Is Fiction™ – a docu-fiction film about millennial subculture stereotypes in Johannesburg. She is an actor whose photojournalistic background largely influences the way in which she sees story and the multiplicity of the human experience. She strongly believes in the power of performance art, in its provision of vicarious experience, allowing people to engage with realities both in and outside of themselves, that they otherwise wouldn’t. Incredibly grateful to play the small role she has through the edit, in visually bringing Alex’s noteworthy work to a greater audience.
Baeletsi Tsatsi is a storyteller, writer and facilitator. She studied at the Market Laboratory, the International School of Storytelling and the Center for Biographical Storytelling. She won the J.J Renaux Emerging Storyteller Grant Award in 2018. Her stories are distributed by FunDza, Cover2Cover and Book Dash. She is currently a storyteller in residence at Play Africa’s African Storytelling Project, happening in collaboration with ASSITEJ SA and the Goethe Institut.
Toni Morkel has been working in theatre for many years. She works as performer, director and teacher but her favourite space is workshopped theatre where she’s involved in the creation of new work from the ground up. Izithombe 2094 was one of Morkel’s highlights.
Lindiwe Matshikiza is an artist working with writing, directing (and sometimes performance) in a variety of media and modes. She uses her background and training in theatre-making as a base from which to approach other kinds of work, often collaborative, exploratory projects that take on more than one form over time. Matshikiza is co-founder and co-director of Mother Box: Organisation for Cooperation in the Arts, a non-profit, artist-led organisation looking at collaborative arts processes and finding ways to articulate them. She is also a trained ecdysiast performing under the alias The Secret Life of Plants, and a vinyl collector, selector and mixtape producer known as ‘girl blue’.