Archive for the ‘KKNK’ Category

OfficeBLOCK closed on Saturday night and after a fantastic run, it was time for a celebration. Opening night catered for a South African and American mix of food that included corn DSCN6935dogs and mielies and mini hamburgers,and popcorn and also sorts of finger-food treats. If you hung around long enough, there were also cream tartlets and mini-pumpkin pies.

For closing night, what was going to be a braai that had both hotdogs and boerewors to again celebrate the Artsbridge journey that OfficeBLOCK would be taking, turned into a bunny chow night: home-made curries, fresh bread, salads and atchar. A solid, filling, tasty meal, that everyone of every diet could enjoy.  There was the option of vegetable curry and meat curry, and an amazing bean and banana salad, all home-made.

YUM!

Often cocktail tomatoes, sliced carrots, little samoosas, tiny chicken wings and meat balls are a safe choice but what can we do to offer our audiences something new and tempting each time?  Do we rather cut the food budget and up the amount of free booze? Or do we continue to fight for the balance between food and drink? What kinds of foods can we arrange that fit out trying budgets, people’s diets and also give our audiences a 5-star welcome? Or will we always be celebrating theatre productions with culinary delights in miniature?

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There have been great efforts made by theatre companies in Cape Town and they should get props. The Baxter Theatre had a huge make-over earlier this year and had an amazing variety of food, with various cold meats, breads, cheeses and jams, and biscuits that came with little tubes of chocolate or almond syrup you could flavour it with. Not to mention the cocktails that could be a little stronger with a wink and a smile to the barman – or so we heard.  The opening of KKNK was another hit: champagne that kept on coming and trays of quiches and skewered chicken being delivered by waiters  continuously. GIPCA gets a note in our books for a wonderful presentation of bread and cheese at the series of talks they held.

Theatre isn’t just about getting a bum on a seat. It’s about the entire experience being given to the patron. Considering that the audience has to drive all the way to your venue (petrol) possibly get someone to babysit the kids (cost), maybe have dinner or drinks with the people they’re with (another cost), purchase a ticket (minor cost), and then tip the car guard, it totals up to more than just the cost of a ticket. The full theatre experience will up the value of your production, ensure that your audiences will return and best of all, tell their friends about it.

To good food and even better theatre experiences: bon appétit!

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Iets Anders at the KKNK

KKNK: Te veel Engels? That was Die Burger’s street poster. The debate was on the front page of Die Burger’s KKNK supplement in an article by Marelize Potgieter, entitled “Die fees móét omstrede wees” which loosely translates to “The festival must be all encompassing.”

Die Burger, 6 April 2011.

Former festival director, Karen Meiring, is quoted as saying “Ek kry die gevoel dat daar doelbewus pogings is om die fees tweetalig te maak. Afrikaans kan nie in isolasie bestaan nie en dit sal ook nie. Daar moet net seker gemaak word dat daar nie van ons Afrikaanse karakter weggeskram word nie,” (I get the feeling that there is an objective posed to make the festival bilingual. Afrikaans cannot stand in isolation, and it will not. It need to stressed however, that Afrikaans culture should not be distanced from)  while current festival director holds the view point that the festival is first and foremost about art, “Afrikaans is vir ons ‘n kommunikasie-kanaal eerder as ‘n ideologiese posisie” (Afrikaans is manner of communication and not an ideological position).

We had our own debate take place in the foyer where an older Afrikaans woman, a tannie, came and questioned why we had printed our programmes in English. Before we could answer, Wim Vorster who was also in the foyer in the time, responded by saying, “Dit is die Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, nie die Afrikaanse fees nie,” (This is the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, not the festival of Afrikaner arts) and if the KKNK only accepts Afrikaans shows would that mean that he would not be allowed to take an Afrikaans show to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown? The tannie then walked off muttering something, clearly quite miffed at Wim’s outspoken response.

The debate continues tomorrow morning where Tara will form part of a panel at the RSG tent. It’s an open discussion about language and culture in a framework of the festival.

I hope that the festival will embrace being a ‘nasionale kunstefees’, because if it were solely and Afrikaans festival we would not only continue to divide our nation but also, and more practically, it would have to be renamed the ‘Klein Karoo Afrikaner Kunstefees’: Die KKAK. And who would want that?

Since none of our productions are in Afrikaans, we’re happy to be a part of the feather ruffling and questions raising.

Isn’t that what theatre is all about?

Iets Anders at the KKNK

Tuesday, almost the halfway mark between the beginning and end of the festival. The day when most people arrive and most people leave, making it the busiest day in Oudtshoorn, with most people out enjoying Heinz Winckler at the Huisgenoot tent.

This was the perfect day for Frank and Janet to take some time off and enjoy the festival. Lots of the people their were very happy to see “Ouma en Oupa” or “Hilda en Oubaas” of 7de Laan as some of the kids thought. Here are some clips of their day out:

Frank and Janet’s day out
Frank and Janet make new friends

Tanya and I have spent many hours printing programmes and stapling stickers for the foyer display. A task which can cause staple-thumb but makes our audiences enjoy giving input.

Foyer DisplayAdmiring foyer display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tara smiled at lots of people. Except while this photo was being taken. Something serious must have happened. Or she’s on Facebook.

Serious Producer Director Faced Tara

Most of the Iets Anders team has been taking a slow day aside from their performances. Three days of storming into the whirlwind Festival spirit has left everyone a little subdued. Even good ol’ Willie has stopped making fun of our Afrikaans while our stage manager, Elmaret, has been caught napping backstage. Elmaret's guilty smile at being caught napping

Meanwhile a debate has slowly been brewing in the newspapers about the KKNK and the amount of English being used… more to follow…

Iets Anders at the KKNK

Two days and no blogging makes Tanya and Yusrah very busy people.

The venue ran rather smoothly on the first day of the technical rehearsal. Too smoothly. We were convinced everything would go wrong and nothing would be ready for the technicians.

We checked out the venue on Thursday morning (31st March) and found chairs still scattered around and it was missing two lights we had specially requested. We gave  Festival Technical Manager, Pieter-Jan Kapp, better known as Kappie ,a very stern call. Kappie very quickly explained that  his venue technicians were on their way to set up an hour before London Road was due to do their technical rehearsal. What he was really saying was “CALM DOWN”, echoing his previous statement, "Remember this is not the National Arts Festival; this is the ABSA KKNK". Very soon the venue was ready, with technicians on hand (a day before they were initially scheduled to work)

Jon Keevy and his existential crisis

As many festival theatre directors know, things tend to go disastrously

wrong in rehearsal. Perhaps all the anxious energy in the room causes machines to explode (Tara’s rehearsal had two small fires..true story).  Rumpsteak, which is a sound dependent piece with over 800 sound effects, had the CD player crash right at the end of the rehearsal. They had to come in to the venue at 8am the next morning to run a final cue-to-cue rehearsal with a new CD player which Willie had to organise at the crack of dawn.

Willie, by the way, is the venue technician, and "Hy is die kak" – a poorly translated phrase which the Iets Anders team has started to take ownership of (T-shirts to follow…watch this space). But back to Willie; he has spent many an hour on ladders, called in a hit squad to build new flats for Drome van Jou / Pictures of You team,  replaced 3 faulty dimmer packs, and put out 2 small fires caused by said dimmer packs, or anxious director energies.

Willie oppie leer. Heel dag. Drome van Jou had a particularly kak technical rehearsal. They arrived at 5pm and only got to start their tech at 9pm. This was due to faulty dimmer packs (which caused fires) and for the urgent construction of new flats. The flats which were in the venue were so high they covered the precious back lights we were bragging about (see previous entry for details) when they were moved to where Drome van Jou needed them.  Another technician rockstar, Stefan, had to source bars and cut them down to size. When we say cut them down, we mean, cutting through metal bars with an angle grinder creating an elaborate fountain of sparks spewing on the veranda. But shhh! Don’t mention it to the health and safety unit. (Huge thanks Stefan for making it happen.)

Since then, running the venue has been pretty busy with the interactive foyer displays  that we’re getting famous for. Paper and stickers is where it’s at…apparently.

And then there was the partying.

Take it off, Tristan...

For the opening of the festival, Brett Pyper, invited all the artists to a party, but after the long drives and tricky techs, attendance was lower than expected – which was a pity, because the DJ was SO into her job and the Iets Anders team rocked the house. Of course. The following night, after the festival opened however, the same venue was much more alive and we hope Brett throws another awesome opening party next year, but maybe not when everyone wants crash out with fatigue.

  Iets Anders at the Funfair With a stroke whiskey-fuelled luck, the Iets Anders team also discovered the nearby funfair…you know where this is going…yep, we decided it was a great idea to ride the Break-Dancer and Ferris Wheel. Graham and Pieter were bounced off the Ferris wheel for rocking their carriage- WHO gets thrown off a Ferris Wheel? – only an Iets Anders-er. That’s how we roll. We still have tokens left over and plan to puke on the bumper cars later in the week…

Rob and Graham High-Fiving the Iets Anders Team from the ride...And between all of this running about and partying we will see other toneelstukke. Maybe some animals. Liezl has found a tortoise on her stoep, and The Pink Couch went to the zoo. We’re still holding out for some ostriches…

Yusrah admires the locals decision to make hay while the sun shines 2 venue managers.  1 twin cab.  5 people.  480 kms.  1 bottle of tequila.  That’s right, folks.  The Iets Anders venue managers, Tanya and I (Yusrah) headed up to Oudtshoorn yesterday, three whole days before the KKNK is due to start on the 2nd on April. While this would give us time to settle in, mingle with the locals and check out the scene, it also meant being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5 in the morning to arrive at noon. Bundled into the twin-cab Toyota Hilux and armed with padkos (thanks, Ugli!), we set off for the town famous for Ostriches.

Stopping along the way for the mandatory petrol and bathroom breaks, we looked at the overpriced sunglasses, admired farm trucks stacked with bails of hay, translated signs from Afrikaans, picked out misspelled signs and had the locals stares at Tanya’s tattoos. After the 8th double-take, she is currently considering wearing longer shorts.

Reaching the big-O, in the semi-desert, it was hot with a few refreshing drops of rain. I exchanged my long pants for shorts, but had no tattoos to reveal, managing to blend in a little more than Tanya…

The Venue - before... As soon as we had unpacked, we went and checked out the South Cape College or the Suid Kaap Kollege which will soon become the Iets Anders home. It’s on the corner of Adderly and Voortrekker, just down the road from the head office. Location, location, location!  The theatre space is the converted school hall with raked seating, black curtains, AND bless, the ABSA KKNK, air-conditioning too.

The lighting rig that has been set up on a box rig which boasts front, side and back lighting. This gem of a structure lets our lighting designers light the performances from four sides, allowing them to flex their design muscle and create mood and shape. In venues which are converted to the theatre spaces, it is often tricky to install a full lighting rig and lighting designers are only given bars across the front of the stage to play with. This typically means only lighting a production from one side and makes the people on stage look flat. A box rig will probably make our technical crew happy and this makes us happy since techies are often, well, left in the dark.

Leaving the venue, we popped in at the Festival Office to give ‘aangename kennis’. The Festival H-Q is positioned on the intersection of the two major main roads in Oudsthoorn, at the intersection of Voortrekker and Baron van Rheede (in case you’re in the area). Anticipating a crazy office, with people frantically putting together last minute operations ahead of the festival’s opening on Saturday, the atmosphere was surprisingly calm. Festival Director, Brett Pyper, had time to chat and welcome us to Oudsthoorn. He didn’t look like a man running one of the biggest festivals in the country (or one of the biggest things to hit the country, as it was explained to us by a local) which was expected to open in two days time. He was reassured and accommodating. As everyone in Oudtshoorn has been thus far. Maybe it’s all the fresh air.

We got to bed at a decent hour, and enjoyed the calm before today’s first technical rehearsal.  Aside from the Flying Ostrich cheese shop, their have been no signs of any real ostriches yet.  But watch this space for details…