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Sunday, August 27, 2017


(A moment from “Et si …” Photo by Andreia Salame)

Both pieces were successful in that they had the desired effect of asking the audience to engage in politics in very different ways (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

Friday Night's Jomba! line-up left me in awe and conflicted as two different dance works were presented. The first was Et si..., choreographed and danced by Marcel Gbeffa from Cie Multicorps in Benin and De-Apart-Hate, choreographed and directed by Mamela Nyamza, danced by Nyamza and Aphiwe Livi who are residents of Cape Town. The latter piece lived up to the controversial legacy that Nyamza is aiming to foster.

Et si... opened the evening which much mystery and manipulation. The bare stage is decorated with just a bench and a used truck tyre. The slow but steady opening solo on the bench was as if we were witnessing the peeling away of layers to reveal the inner sanctum of turmoil that was to follow. The sequence in the tyre contrasted the bench in that it was more violent and depicted a more trapped individual who is then left pondering his own actions. Gbeffa manipulated and repeated observed animal behaviours and equated them to human reactions. The dance technique has a very distorted flow, with a catch and release of tension which made for intriguing viewing. The lighting design by Carlos Dosseh created stark spots and columns that half shadowed the well-defined physique of Gbeffa. It complimented the mood and concept very well.

De-Apart-Hate was a difficult piece to watch. It explores ritualistic behaviour in a performance manner. The piece aimed to be radical and it does achieve this to varying degrees of success. We are left questioning religion, identity, race, sexuality and gender roles. However, the piece was a little too monotonous at times and had one almost in a trance-like state that became extremely awkward. Other awkward moments include a section of complete silence and stillness for about four minutes which left the audience reacting to their own sounds and uncertainly. The piece does ask important questions but I felt that the crassness of it was a little disturbing. The sexual innuendos with the bible became a little too much to bear and left me begging for the ending. I would have ended the night with Et si... as the mood was too sober with the ending that was offered.

I do feel that both pieces were successful in that they had the desired effect of asking the audience to engage in politics in very different ways. Some moments were more successful than others. - Verne Rowin Munsamy