Posts Tagged ‘Liezl de Kock’

It’s the little things that count. These are the things that make us family, and in the words of Tink, “If we don’t laugh at ourselves, someone else will.”

10. Our resident Rocky.

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Christo ran all the way up these stairs of the Lincoln Memorial doing the Rocky. How could you resist?

9. A Muslim falls off a chair.

kneeling chair

Do not, at any point try to sit on the bottom part of this chair and then attempt to make yourself more comfortable: You will slip and fall on your arse, as our online manager found out one day.

8.  A Cold Shower at Midnight

Trailer

Just before leaving Grahamstown, Tanya, Angela and Ana got a nasty wake-up call. They were pulling the trailer towards the back of the van and as they put it down to fix it onto the ball hitch, the rain water which had been sitting on the top of the trailer after a very wet season at the festival came rushing forward and splashing down on them!

7. Channelling Napolean

Rob Napolean

Having broken his collar-bone Ugli was to direct Benchmarks with just one arm, and in so doing, became a very tall version of Napolean. Needless to say, the cast wasted no time in outvoting him at every chance by calling: “All in favour raise your right hand.” (See the picture with Ugli on the far right, just..trying..to..play..with!)

6. Finding the perfect nickname for Gali

GaliBarbie

Nuff said.

5. That time ‘Sober-Dan’ nicked the mirror on the hired car.

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So we’re leaving the Naledi’s, pretty smashed after going through the whole ceremony thinking that we were nominated for all these awards and travelled all the way to JHB, to win nothing, when right at the very end, they announce a brand new category for Best Emerging Company, which we win. At this point the highs and lows are swallowed with a lot of spirit-s, making most of us incapable of driving. When we finally left, our designated driver, our sober Dan, our most capable and responsible member of our team at the time, got behind the wheel and slowly reversed the hired-car’s side mirror straight into a pole.

4. One breezy night, a 6-foot tall man changed a tyre in a kilt.

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To add to the car woes of the Naledi night, the car also had a slow puncture and needed a tyre change. Who better than a 6-foot tall, strong man, in a kilt?

3. “Does André have an accent?”

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Tink: Angela, does Andre have an accent?

Angela: Well, he is Afrikaans.

2. “It’s a Blowjob Tart”

Tanya brought milk tart to the Pot Luck in DC. When asked what it was, she signed “Milk Tart”. The South African sign for “milk” is the same as the American sign for “blowjob”. Blowjob Tart – a traditional South African dessert.

1. When Rodney from Benchmarks spent a little too much time in the park.

For the opening of Out the Box Festival, a puppet procession was organised to walk through Obz and finish on the Village Green, i.e. the park opposite Spar where the bergies take lunch. That was where Rodney ran into the Queen of Obz who fell head over heels for him and tried to bag her prince. The video is priceless and so worth the bandwidth. Watch how Daniel who plays Rodney goes to find his real wife for safety!

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Officially speaking….

The dynamic young organisation, which this year celebrated its sixth birthday, moves into the next phase of growth with a strong focus on its education programmes including the Artsbridge International Exchange. In addition, the creative team will enjoy new artistic mentorship under the guidance of company member Jayne Batzofin, who has been with the company since 2009. Batzofin takes over the role of Artistic Director, and overseeing the company’s education and creative output, from founder and current Artistic Director Rob Murray, who is taking up the position of resident director with Janet Buckland’s Ubom! Company in Grahamstown.


“The first six years have been an exhilarating rollercoaster ride,” says Murray. “We have toured extensively nationally and internationally, won multiple awards and developed a ground-breaking theatre education programme for Deaf learners.

“It is now time to consolidate what has been created and build on that foundation to nurture a sustainable theatre training programme that provides opportunities to Deaf learners from all over the country. FTH:K is today an established entity in itself and has at its helm a strong new leadership team to take it into the next five years. “

Murray will be working with Batzofin as part of the handover which will also see Batzofin taking over as South African director of the Artsbridge International Exchange programme. Artsbridge is a two-year skills and cultural exchange project between Deaf and hearing communities in South Africa and the USA. It involves workshops, discussions and the creation of a work with Wings Theatre Company from the USA, which will be performed at QuestFest in Washington DC in March, followed by a national tour of South Africa. Batzofin was part of the team that travelled to the USA this year as part of the first phase of the project.

Company Director Tanya Surtees, who relocated to Washington DC earlier this year, will head up the Artsbridge Exchange from abroad while also working for QuestFest hosts, Quest Visual Theatre. She will remain on with FTH:K in an advisory capacity supporting Ana Lemmer, who joined FTH:K in March, in her new role as Company Director from 2012.

“It remains an honour to work for FTH:K, brokering the Exchange from the DC side and working to get the Company onto the international stage. It is humbling to see how over the years FTH:K has grown bigger than the vision of any one of its members or co-founders, and it is particularly satisfying to see new faces joining the family, fresh voices emerging in both leadership and creative roles, and old faces moving on to tackle new challenges.” says Surtees.

“2012 also marks the next phase of our Tell-Tale Signs education programme. The national tour next year with Artsbridge will include workshops that serve as an audition process for our next intake of trainees. This will be the first time we have been able to potentially offer places to students from outside of Cape Town. 2013 will mark the start of the three-year Deaf training programme, as well as a run of our latest production, Benchmarks, which won a Handspring Puppetry award,” says Murray.

“I am honoured to be working with Ubom! next year and, as a Rhodes graduate who studied under Andrew Buckland, I feel lucky to be returning to my theatrical roots.”

Joining Murray at Ubom! is company member Liezl de Kock who has been with FTH:K since 2006. Fleur du Cap-nominated actress de Kock will continue to perform her acclaimed roles in productions such as Pictures of You, Womb Tide and Benchmarks.

Batzofin graduated from Wits University Cum Laude with a BADA (Honours): majoring in directing and stage and costume design. She first met FTH:K in 2007 but was on her way to study for two years at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris. On her return to South Africa, she joined the FTH:K team and has performed in and designed their highly acclaimed productions such as Womb Tide and Benchmarks. She has also played an integral role in the development of the Tell-Tale Signs programme as well as devised, designed and directed productions such as Shortcuts for the national schools tour.

“I am looking forward to working with the FTH:K team in my new role and helping to take the company to even greater heights,” says Batzofin. “It is a privilege to take over the mantle from Rob, and build on the outstanding work that he and the company have done to lay the foundations for the next five years.”

*FTH:K is a young, ground-breaking theatre company that works in the field of Visual Theatre. Without a dependency on any one language, its work crosses over cultural and linguistic divides and calls on audiences to “Listen With Your Eyes”. It has already won multiple awards, toured all over South Africa, Germany and Argentina, and in only 6 years, has reached more than 47 000 people.

More than that, FTH:K is South Africa’s premier Deaf and hearing theatre company with the goal of integrating the Deaf into the performing arts world in South Africa. This aim is best illustrated through its unique Tell-Tale Signs programme which is currently training South Africa’s first generation of Deaf artists for inclusion in the professional performing arts industry. There is currently no other project like it (nor has there ever been) running in South Africa.

FTH:K works include its award-winning performances of Pictures of You and Benchmarks (in association with a conspiracy of clowns), GUMBO, and its multi-award-nominated QUACK! and Womb Tide.

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Sneak Pictures from Friday’s rehearsal below!

OfficeBLOCK opens on Wednesday, with a preview on Tuesday night.

Rob, our artistic director and award-winning lighting designer will be spending today working out technical cues and once again showing-off his fabulous eye for lighting. Given that 3/4’s of the performers are Deaf, he has to take into account that the Deaf are hugely reliant on their sight and appropriate lighting for balance – especially when climbing on one another!

Jayne has been designing the set and costume. Although Jayne is from historically Joburg, she will give any designer in Cape Town a run for their money with her know-how of Cape Town’s streets,  and her keen eye for design and bargain.

Our newcomer Gali has been lending her hand in the dance department.  Gali Kumwimba nee Malebo, our education co-ordinator, has been involved in musical theatre up in the Free State and has been blessing us with her presence since June.  She is generally the quiet type, that is, until the music starts.

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OfficeBLOCK, is a series of vignettes which details the corporate world, and is also a chance for the public to see the talent we have been harvesting in the form of our trainees Marlon, Christo and Sinethemba. Make no mistake, these are not actors taken because, “ag shame, they’re Deaf” but because their stage presence and physicality is enormously spectacular. This is a chance for the you, the public, to see the value of what FTH:K does, integrating the Deaf and hearing onto one stage. The trainees will perform alongside our Fleur du Cap nominee Liezl de Kock.

This piece will only grow from here and your input is wholly welcome after the show. Next year we take the piece to QuestFest where we integrate with Wings Theatre Company. Following QuestFest we will be bringing the piece to National Arts Festival, to debut on African soil.

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FTH:K is an award-winning company and Ismail Mohamed, National Arts Festival Director, had this to say about FTH:K’s Herbert Dhlomo Naledi Award to Emerging Theatre Company:

“In the presentation of the award the word “emerging” was not to denote newcomer on the block but it was intended to acknowledge a company whose work is giving rise to newly emerging forms of artistic expression, entrepreneurial best practices and a commitment to grow social consciousness through quality driven entertaining theatre productions. The first ever award in this category receives its own sense of value by it being given to a company that celebrates a strong track record of representing the values envisioned by this award.”

2009 Intermediate classes So, on Friday we were invited by Lysander and Liezl to watch showings of our LEVEL 2 programme (that’s our Intermediate and Advanced Intermediate classes).  Given that they had had very few sessions with which to work on the pieces, we were expecting it to be pretty basic with a lot of uncertainty on the part of the performers.  Boy, were we wrong!!  The group was dynamic and creative and sure of themselves and funny funny funny!!  We were weeping with laughter in some of the pieces.  Literally.

Lysander and LiezlLysander and Liezl have been in charge of the Intermediate Class for the past year, while Lysander and Marlon have taken over the Advanced Intermediate training sessions, so it’s been a while since the rest of us have been on the floor with the group.  We were blown away by how much they have developed and grown since we saw them in their weekly classes on our LEVEL 1 school’s programme.  Now in LEVEL 2, they are different people: confident, proud, assertive, creative and a whole lot of fun.

At last, the programme is achieving what it was set up to achieve so many years ago.  We knew what we wanted. We knew what needed to be done.  But that doesn’t mean that our clarity of vision hasn’t Send in the clowns been clouded with doubt, insecurities, stress, confusion and misunderstandings over the years.  Why are we doing this?  Should it be done?  Is it worth it?  Will anyone care?  Is there a need for it? Is there a market for it?  Can the Deaf realistically make it in the theatre world in South Africa?  Are we just living a pipe dream that will end sooner than later?  But on Friday afternoon, the clouds parted, the vision was clear, and the answers were affirming.  It reminded us of why we are involved with FTH:K and why we work so hard to achieve what we do.  There is SO much untapped potential and talent out there, and so many exciting new points of view to be heard and explored, and the performing arts is the perfect place to do it.

All smiles!

It is nice to be reminded of how good we have it.  Sure, running a theatre company is not an easy task – the Arts and Culture environment in South Africa is tough as nails.  But when we look at our performances, our audiences, our friends, our team mates, our trainees, our FTH:K family, we are reminded of how lucky we are to do what we do everyday because it is vital and important and is changing lives in a very real way.

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So, they’re back and Pictures of You was a hit!  Not that any of us doubted that for a minute…

Pictures of You at the Festival of FameAfter 5 shows in Jozi and one workshop at the Oprah School, FTH:K reached over 600 people while in Gauteng and is seriously considering taking Pictures back for a season.  Interesting that there have been mixed responses as to whether it should or not.  Some are saying that Joburg NEEDS more of this kind of theatre; others are saying there’s no audience for it in Jozi.  Any other opinions out there from those living and/or working in Jozi?

A snapshot journey of Day 2 in Buenos Aires…

And while you’re about it, check out these first impressions of Buenos Aires:

TANYA SURTEES – GUMBO Director and FTH:K Company Manager

ROB MURRAY – GUMBO Performer and FTH:K Artistic Director
LYSANDER BARENDS – GUMBO Performer and FTH:K Company Member
LIEZL DE KOCK – GUMBO Performer and FTH:K Company Member
MARLON SNYDERS – GUMBO Performer and FTH:K Third-Year Trainee
NIKKI FRONEMAN – Proyecto 34°S Festival Director
LYNN MAREE – Director of “Living in Strange Lands”; MARK FLEISHMAN – Director of “Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking”
RENOS SPANOUDES – Performer in “Living in Strange Lands”
CRAIG LEO – Production Manager for “Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking”

And that’s it for the end of Day 2 in Buenos Aires.  Time to sleep and try catch up with the crazy time shift between continents…see you tomorrow!