LISA DE KLERK

 This week the University of Pretoria’s Drama department will once again entertain us with some of the best theatre Pretoria has to offer. The annual Krêkvars Student Arts Festival will showcase more than 40 different productions running from Monday 25 to Saturday 30 July. As far as convenience goes, the shows are being performed right here on campus and the damage is only R10. Tickets can purchased 45 minutes before each show at The Bok and (for certain shows) at the door. Selecting a production out of the many on offer can prove a difficult feat, but Perdeby was fortunate enough to catch a few rehearsals to help you out. Consult the festival’s official Facebook page for the full schedule.

 Small Town – A Sing-along Musical

Pure entertainment. Small Town – A Sing-along Musical is set in the 80s and features classics such as “Come On Eileen”, “Faith” and “Summer of ‘69”. A young starlet travels to the city to make it big and meets some colourful (and we mean colourful) characters along the way. It’s a campy, interactive no-brainer that encourages the audience to tap their feet and sing along. Expect legwarmers, neon, glitter, faded denim and a jazzy cast. This production, created by Elana Heyns and Grant Towers, should suffice as the perfect mid-week distraction when class becomes a bit too much. Just “Relax” and “Dance with Somebody”.

Masker Theatre: 26 July at 19:45, 28 July at 15:15 and 30 July at 15:15.

 Black Persia – The Apocryphal Chapter

Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? This piece takes “dancing” to the next level. Serving as a prelude to Pieter Human’s previous pieces, Yellow Wood and Black Wood, Black Persia’s interpretations of sound and lyric are absolutely captivating. The dancers seem effortless and so absorbed in their movement that it’s almost as if you’re intruding on a group of strangers’ transcendent, delirious experience. A go-out-of-your-way must-see.

Masker Theatre: 26 July at 16:45, 28 July at 21:15 and 30 July at 16:45.

 The Audition

The Audition is one of the shorter pieces being showcased at the festival. An average mix of dance and dialogue, it depicts the auditions of seven girls all competing for a spot in the same production. The audience gets to learn about their favourite food and how driven each contender is, and then, er, watch their auditions. There’s not much more to it than that. If you’re looking for a show simply to pass the time between classes, this is probably your best bet.

Masker Theatre: 25 July at 10:45, 27 July at 12:15 and 28 July at 19:45.

 de Melker

de Melker chronicles the life of the notorious Daisy de Melker, who poisoned two of her husbands and her son. The drama piece, created by Venetia Herbst (who stars as de Melker herself), follows Daisy from the early days of her first love all the way up to her execution. It offers speculative insight into the complex mind of the murderess, but not much more than that. If you’re not familiar with de Melker’s story, it could serve as a superficial introduction to a very interesting bit of history.

Lier Theatre: 27 July at 10:00, 28 July at 11:30 and 30 July at 19:00

 Yanagi/Dragonface

This piece is truly something different. Yanagi/Dragonface is a double-bill show featuring two adult fairy tales – through shadow puppetry. The cut-outs are deftly detailed and their movements so real that it appears as if the show is being run purely by magic. The audience isn’t spoiled with sheer artistry alone but also by two extraordinary stories. Yanagi is the brainchild of Chris van Rensburg and Christelle van Graan, and illustrates a poignant Japanese love story. Marinda Botha, creator of the mystical Dragonface, describes shadow puppetry as “making a film with your eyes”. Another must-see.

Lier Theatre: 28 July at 17:30, 29 July at 19:00 and 30 July at 10:00.

 Koshuis Loshuis 2

Koshuis Loshuis 2 is the South African theatre equivalent to films such as Road Trip and American Pie. The sequel to 2010’s Koshuis Loshuis, this comedy follows the escapades of a Pretoria student and his res mates. Manie realises he is in love with a one-night-stand and travels to Cape Town in search of her. Expect a lot of sex, swearing and all-round debauchery. It’s good, slapstick entertainment, and a coin-toss between being either extremely offended or in stitches by the end of it.

Masker Theatre: 26 July at 13:45, 29 July at 13:45 and 30 July at 19:45

 Cleansed

Cleansed is an unsettling in-your-face masterpiece. Written by Sarah Kane and directed by Gavin Matthys, it reveals (in brutal honesty) the extent of love and sacrifice. The piece is based mainly around a sister searching for her lost brother, but the emotional rollercoaster will leave you wondering what it really is you watched. The cast is strong, the narrative disturbing and the sentiment intense. Also showcased at the 2011 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Cleansed stands out clearly amongst the other Krêkvars productions.

Masker Theatre: 26 July at 21:15 and 30 July at 10:00

Photo: Jerome van Zyl

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