What to do and see in Jozi for the next couple of months: Some recommendations from Liz at Lancaster

Ndlovu Youth Choir Monte Casino 24-27 August 

With a few days to go before the official start of Spring, treat yourself to a heavy dose of colour, vibrancy, rhythm, energy, and talent. The Ndlovu Youth Choir will bring a smile to your face and get your feet tapping.  This astonishing group from Moutse in Limpopo made the final of America’s Got Talent in 2019. They have wowed international audiences in sold-out concerts in Europe, America, and Africa. From the 24th to 27th August they can be seen (and heard) at the Teatro at Monte Casino. – their first major South African tour. There are only 6 performances, and some have already sold out so book soon of you want to catch this show. 

Liewe Land! III at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery until 9th Sept

Dineke Orton found a number of old prints of landscapes at the Voortrekker Monument.  She has curated an exhibition in which she asked a group of contemporary artists to respond to and react with these prints.  Over 30 artists have reinterpreted the more traditional historical landscapes with contemporary perspectives (stylistically, conceptually and iconographically).  Some of these artists include Anastasia PatherBevan de Wet, Caroline Suzmann, Diane Victor, Gordon Froud, Hannelie Coetzee, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Jan Maanda Tshikhuthula, Johan Stegmann, Karin Preller, Phumulani Ntuli and Elize Vossgätter.

Seeing the Invisible Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens until end September 

In 2021 a large exhibition of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology was launched at 12 Botanical Gardens across six countries which included Kirstenbosch in CapeTown.  In October 2022, the second season was extended to a further 10 locations INCLUDING our own local botanical gardens Walter Sisulu in Roodepoort.  The AR technology allows the same exhibition of commissioned artworks to be shown in outdoor settings “located in different biomes all around the world, creating parallels and contrasts between them.” Seeing the Invisible. The AR technology also allows for a more immersive viewer experience as visitors can engage with the virtual works and the outdoor environment in ways which would not happen with physical artworks.  And access to and exhibition of works by this range of internationally famous artists would be impossible unless they are produced using AR technology. WHAT a treat. 

More from the Seeing the Invisible website: 

Among the thirteen AR works created for Seeing the Invisible, highlights include El Anatsui’s first work in AR, adapting one of the artist’s iconic recycled bottle-top installations into an AR tapestry that shimmers gently as though moved by a soft wind; a new work by Sigalit Landau marking the artist’s first foray into AR, offering the viewer endless routes of investigation both around and inside the hidden creeks of a work inspired by the natural formation of a salt stalagmite; a new work by Jakob Kudsk Steensen revolving around the organic shape of a dried branch of cacti, furthering Steensen’s reexamination of desert as omens of life, rather than symbols of death; and a meticulous translation of Ai Weiwei’s Gilded Cage into AR, addressing issues related to power structures, habitats, borders, confinement, and restriction, but also caregiving, preservation, and nurturing.

These contemporary artists who work across multiple disciplins including film, photography, virtual reality, performance art and sculpture, include Loukia Alavanou (Greek), Refik Anadol (Turkish works in the US), Ori Gersht (Israeli works in London), Isaac Julien CBE RA (English), Daito Manabe (Japan), Sarah Meyohas (US), Mel O’Callaghan (Australian works in France), Pamela Rosenkranz (Swiss), Timur Si-Qin (works in the US).

In this large-scale sculpture representing the number zero, Mohammed Kazem shows numerous geographic coordinates, representing all countries of the world.  The number zero is highly significant in the history of math as the Persian scholar Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi discovered the number zero and considered it an algebraic number. Photo Courtesy SANBI website Seeing the Invisible

Seeing the Invisible is accessible via smartphone and tablet through the Seeing the Invisible app.  I only visited the exhibition after writing this post and had a couple of comments about managing expectations. Once you’ve sorted out these minor glitches, you are in for a real treat. 

National Theatre Live Good Cinema Nouveau from 23rd September 

I’m a great fan of David Tennant and from the reviews it seems he is superb in this production. Check The Guardian review which indicates that this is a very tough play to watch but also relevant for our worryingly fraught times. 

Often considered an examination of how a “good” man is corrupted, the play begins in 1933 and follows Halder’s [a German Professor played by Tennant] conversion to nazism, step by step. ………… Good is a gradually enraging drama that makes us hear afresh the denials that lead populism into dangerous waters, and may well be a lesson for our times.

As with all these viewings, there are only 4 shows: 23rd, 24th, 27th and 28th September.

Don Quixote Joburg Theatre 29th Sept to 8th Oct 

The Johannesburg Ballet presents this classical ballet. Marianela Núñez and Vadim Muntagirov of The Royal Ballet perform the leading roles on Friday 6th October at 7pm and Sunday 8th October at 2 pm. The other 6 performances will feature Joburg Ballet dancers in the leading roles. The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra will play for all performances except the morning performances at 11h00 on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 October. 

See Marianela Núñez in the Kitri Variation of Don Quixote 

The Promise 18th Oct to 5th Nov at the Market Theatre

The Promise is adapted for theatre by Damon Galgut and Sylvaine Strike

I have not yet read Damon Galgut’s Booker Prize winning novel, but I did see Firefly, Sylvaine Strike’s co-production (with Andrew Buckland and Toni Morkel), and that is enough to make me want to book tickets right now for The Promise scheduled for mid-October. As with Firefly, it seems that each actor will play multiple roles: The cast is made up of Rob van Vuuren as Anton, Kate Normington as Ma and Maman, Frank Opperman as Pa / Rabbi / Moti, Chuma Sopotela as Salome, Cintaine Schutte as Tannie Marina / Desiree, Jenny Stead as Astrid, Albert Pretorius as Dominee Simms / Ockie / Dean / Jake / Father Batty, Sanda Shandu as Lukas / Bob / Politician and Jane de Wet as Amor. I can’t wait. 

More National Theatre Live: The Best of Enemies 20th October Cinema Nouveau 

And these lines from the excellent Guardian review also signal pertinent relevance for today’s global politics:  

4 Screenings only: 21st ,22nd, 25th and 26th October  The New York Times review is titled: “In ‘Best of Enemies,’ a TV Duel Becomes a Theater Gem.”

Best of Enemies examines another end-of-decade cusp: the TV debates on the ABC network during the 1968 US presidential nominating conventions, between mutually detesting American essayists: and on the New Right, William F Buckley Jr and, on the New Left, Gore Vidal. 

In a play inspired by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s 2015 documentary about the encounters, Graham suggests that these ideological antler-locking head-to-heads were influential on multiple levels – popularising bitter, unbridgeable gulfs between conservative and liberal America that still endure; making TV, rather than legislatures, the national debating chamber; [my emphasis] and, through ABC’s Buckley-Vidal ratings triumph, creating a US peak-time triopoly – with NBC and CBS – lasting until the protagonist of Ink launched Fox News.

Vincent 25th Oct to 4th Nov Sandton Theatre On the Square

As it happened, I missed Vincent when it showed previously in June as it clashed with my last day booking of Firefly.  I am delighted therefore, that it is making a return at the end of October. Shaun Zietsman gave it an excellent review and friends who saw it raved about it. Definitely on my list of recommendations. 

And last but not least: The Urban Sketchers workshop Weekend 10-12 September

 

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