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Foot returns to directing with brand new work, Fishers of Hope (Tawaret)

Posted by admin on June 10, 2014

Lara Foot’s latest play, Fishers of Hope (Taweret), explores the meaning of hope in Africa at the National Arts Festival and Baxter this July.

This new new South African play by the multi-award-winning writer/director Lara Foot, will have its world premiere at the National Arts Festival from 3 to 5 July, followed by a season at the Baxter Flipside from 10 July to 2 August at 7.30pm nightly.
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Acclaimed for her productions of Tshepang, Karoo Moose, Woyzeck and Solomon and Marion, Foot teams up with researchers Nina Swart and Masai warrior Miyere Miyandazi to bring to life this African tale of hope, choices and upliftment.

Setting the play ‘somewhere in Africa’, Lara returns to her signature style through magical realism, physical theatre, textured imagery and a richly entwined soundscape and score with authentic African music.

Subtitled Taweret, after the protective ancient mythological Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, the play is layered with metaphors as it delves into the social and environmental effects on a family and community in a fishing village. The name means “she who is great” or “great one,” a common pacificatory address to dangerous deities. The deity is typically depicted as a female hippopotamus, and this becomes a fundamental thread interwoven into the narrative.
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The cast is led by Mncedisi Shabangu, who played the role of the storyteller in Foot’s Tshepang and also takes on the responsibility of assistant director on this production. The rest of the dynamic and diverse ensemble is made up of Cape Town dancer/performer Shaun Oelf, and Phillip Tipo Tindisa, Lesedi Job and Philip Dikotla. Musician Nceba Gongxeka creates the live soundtrack. The young children are played by Junaide Johnson, Azola Gola, Yomzi Tyali Masixole (all three were in Foot’s hit festive season production Scrooge) alternating with Makuxolwe Sigonya, Simbonile Matshaya and Kwanda Vuba.

No stranger to the Baxter, Oelf was seen at the 2013 Baxter Dance Festival and performed in I Hit the Ground Running with choreographer Grant van Ster. Dikotla performed his solo hit play Skierlik which won the Best of the 2013 Zabalaza Theatre Festival. Job and Tindisa’s make their debut at the Baxter Theatre Centre.

Known for her hard-hitting and award-winning plays which tackle social issues Foot stays with the subject of injustice and this time she explores the theme of hope: its essence, values, meaning, impressions, longevity and even possible demise. Inspired by the documentary Darwin’s Nightmare the play examines the prospects of hope and livelihood within the African continent. At its heart it remains a drama which combines the dramatic and the surreal and serves as a metaphor for the world and its capacity for hope. It is the individual characters and their relationships that become the story.
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Lesedi Job plays the central character Ruth, the only woman in the cast. She is married to John (Philip Tipo Tendisa), whose leg has been bitten off by a hippopotamus and who therefore can no longer fish for a living. The couple raise the mute son, Peter (Shaun Oelf) of her older brother, Miyere, an activist, played by Phillip Dikotla, who visits with tour-guide family friend Njawu (Mncedisi Shabangu). Every character is faced with life-changing choices which they have to make.

Foot, along with Swart, Miyandazi and Shabangu, spent two weeks on the lakes of Kenya earlier this year to research the narrative for the play, which originally was planned to be set in Kenya but has developed into a more universal story in Africa.

The creative team is made up of Maurice Podbrey from Mopo Productions (co-producer), Patrick Curtis (design), Benever Arendse (lighting), Grant van Ster (choreography), The Carnell Collective (soundscape), Lesley Nott-Manim (voice coach) and Bongile Mantsai (music consultant).

Fishers of Hope previews at the Baxter Flipside on 10 July, opens on 11 July and runs until 2 August at 7.30pm, except 24 to 26 July. There are matinees on Saturday 19 July at 2pm and on 17 July at 11am. School’s performances are at 11am. Ticket prices range from R110 (previews and matinees) to R120 (Monday to Thursday) and R140 over weekends. Schools block bookings are R50. There is an age restriction of 14 years.

Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted block bookings, charities, schools, corporate bookings and fundraisers, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za.

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