Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Brother Number gets a rave review!
Brother Number is a comedy set in the world of Home Affairs. Doesn't sound like much on paper, but, oh boy - in execution it is a brilliant surrealist allegory set in an epic story world. Rob van Vuuren and James Cairns play Stan and Harvey, two brothers who were kidnapped and sent to work in the bowels of the Department of Home Affairs.
For 16 years, they have been sitting in a little windowless room making ID books. They are the only two people in the world who know how to knock up those nifty green documents. When an explosion blows their tiny world wide open, Stan and Harvey must try and find their way out of the labyrinthine Department of Home Affairs. It's hard to convey the immense scope of the plot without giving away essential details.
The play addresses the nature of freedom and identity framed in rich allegory. The story is thoroughly absorbing with nuanced characterisation, limber dialogue and intricate narrative arches. All the characters are wreathed in archetypal familiarity a la Vladimir Propp. Brother Number moves like a Grimm fairytale, jocular on the surface but undercut by a sinister edge. if the story was ever to be adapted for the big screen, only Terry Gilliam would be able to negotiate its delicate balance between light and dark.
The performances are uniformly excellent. Van Vuuren and Cairns totally inhabit the host of characters populating the play. They manage the disparate accents and mannerisms with verve. They have excellent chemistry and their alacrity smacks of intense rehearsal. The occasionally wordy script is enlivened by their superb physical theatre and facial gurning.
Brother Number is throughly satisfying, both emotionally and intellectually.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Zimbabwe: if in doubt add a nought
The phenomenon known as hyperinflation has led to the introduction of the “simply add a nought” school of economics with the main rule being… “if in doubt add a nought“.
Predictions are that inflation will rise even more and pretty soon we gonna run out of “noughts” on the computer again… suppose we will have to start again from “nought”.
I said it before but the hour before dawn is the darkest and it is at these times that we closest approximate the truth - as the veils fall away the truth is revealed. Expression prevails and creativity emanates. The survival instinct is paramount in us all.
So despite the challenges of everyday survival it is our duty to look to the outcome we desire the most - recognition, success and bringing joy through entertainment.
I have been in England now for a couple of weeks, further promoting our musical cause - sending out promotional literature, talking to promoters and getting our music out to all the contacts made over the past years.
Hopefully this will translate to a tour here later in the year and we are hoping to make it something of a special one too. One of the strengths we developed in Zimbabwe was in utilizing our artists more practically so that by small changes in the backline we could showcase individual artists at the same show without having to move around with complete bands for each showcase act. A good example of this has been that Busi Ncube effectively uses the same backing band as Willom Tight and Dino Mudondo, whilst the same backing group (with a couple of extras) forms the backline for The Collaboration (left). We have made shows where we have showcased 5 different acts each with 5-8 artists using only around 20 performers.
Our plan then is to put together a tour of Scandinavia for Busi and Band Rain in Oct/November and then to come to UK for a series of shows, at which time we will fly in Willom and Dino and then do “double headers” with a focus on the Zimbabweans living in the so-called ‘diaspora’ who would really enjoy that combination. Whilst for those ‘non-Zimbabweans’ in the house they get the chance to enjoy a wider spectrum of Zimbabwean music styles as portrayed by each act.
There are an estimated million Zimbabweans living in UK believe it or not, and they have been sustained on a diet on Oliver Mtukudzi (right) and Alick Macheso - the 2 existing “superstars” of the Zim music scene - they travel here 2 or 3 times each a year. There is definitely a demand for something fresh and that’s the gap we want to fill. But that's not to say we only want Zimbabweans - we hope our music will hold some wider appeal too.
So that’s where we are up to so far - I return to Zimbabwe next week - expecting to be shocked by the changes - a month in one’s life here can truly be defining. Until next time
Saturday, June 02, 2007
The Mt Everest team at CTIA
Last night saw a very thin looking, but happy, South African team arrive safely in Cape Town, after their unforgettable experiences on Chomolungma, or Mount Everest. We were part of a relieved group of families, and I am sure that everyones first thought was to get the guys home to fatten them up!
Cape Storm, who sponsored some of the teams gear, was also there in force and even had a poor guy standing there in a full high altitude down suit...
They are going to be chilling this week, but I understand that there will be a press conference at KFM on Wednesday morning.
I have no desire to ever attempt climbing a mountain such as Mount Everst, but is searching for information about guys has really given me a lot of respect for everyone who goes up to challenge her slopes. Every person who does, I believe, is a hero; but we will never really understand or be a part of what they have gone through, because every journey is a personal one. We can just admire them, and understand that life will never be the same for each.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Eat or be eaten - life in Kruger
This 8:23 min clip is a celebration of life! This poor buffalo calf gets to discover 1st hand the dangers of being a little guy in the bush, when he has to deal with hungry lions, crocs and their inability to agree on who is actually going to get to eat him. But then, as with most fairytales, this one too has a great ending!
Really worth the stream-wait. Have a wonderful weekend folks!
(Grrrr - for some reason I couldn't embed the YouTube clip - so here is the link!