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Thursday, September 29, 2016


(Mishka Gounden & Trent Moffet. Pic by Jessica-Lee Van Goeverden)

Definitely a production to be enjoyed to the full by those who know their Shakespeare. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The College of Humanities (School of Arts) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Drama and Performance Studies Programme, Howard College, are currently presenting the #Shakespeare Must Fall? Festival. The project features work by UKZN, Durban University of Technology and AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance) in Durban..

Festival Director Tamar Meskin explains the focus of the festival: The works of William Shakespeare have long been a site of contested meanings and values; four hundred years after his death, they continue to evoke strong feelings that both celebrate and critique the plays that are his legacy.” She adds that the festival aims to shine a new light on the traditions of Shakespeare “re-inventing it for our own purposes”. The other aim is to provide a performance space for student work and foster dialogue and exchange between the three institutions.

The Space Between, presented by AFDA Durban was one of the three productions presented at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre during the Festival, the others being Much Ado About Nothing which took place from September 22 to 24 and The Past is Prologue which will have performances on September 30 and October 1 at 18h30, Written by Janet van Eeden it was directed by Clinton Marius and featured Trent Moffet and Mishka Gounden with lighting design by Hanna Sieweke.

The Space Between opens to loud recorded applause and an actor resplendent in full Shakespearean costume makes a grand entrance to take his final bow. With his back to us he acknowledges jubilant cheers and shouts from an audience in front of him. After much bowing, he gestures to his actress (equally elegantly dressed) who enters and goes through the same process. However, she soon leaves the stage as it is clear the audience’s demand is more for the actor.

Huffily, she enters the dressing room area and so begins a continued argument in which she complains that actresses are hard done by as actors get all the best speeches. She also moans that he ignores her, doesn’t listen to her and accuses him of being conceited and self-absorbed. Along the way, she slaps his face a number of times!

Trent Moffet and Mishka Gounden engage in this process with much energy. Van Eeden has woven a script that jumps continually from Shakespearean quotations and dialogue to modern language. Moffet is most amusing in his send-up of a lovelorn Juliet and Gounden’s clear articulation stood her in good stead.

Effectively directed by Clinton Marius, this is definitely a production to be enjoyed to the full by those who know their Shakespeare. – Caroline Smart