I Capuleti has “endlessly long, melancholy vocal lines”. In the first act finale Romeo and Juliet sing a long unison melody with only brief pauses for breath”.
Steven Stead Director – Kickstart Theatre
Marvin Kernelle CTO Chorus Master – Cape Town Opera
Bellini cast the star-crossed lovers as a soprano and mezzo-soprano featuring his “trademark sensuous duets”. The libretto by Felice Romani is a “reworking of Romeo and Juliet” with a simplified story line. The five soloists are Romeo, Juliet, Juliet’s father Capelio, Lorenzo a physician, and Tebaldo Juliet’s betrothed and Capulet heir. As the opera opens, Romeo and Juliet have already met and fallen in love.
Artscape Theatre – town.co.za
“With his melancholy melodies, Bellini aims straight for our hearts, giving us not a moment’s doubt of the young lovers’ feelings for one another.”
Cape Town Opera Youth Development and Education (YDE) Department
The story of Romeo and Juliet inspired hundreds of operas. Shakespeare used life in the Renaissance Period to develop his plot. Bellini’s opera applies “bel canto elegiac styleis” to emphasize the “poignancy of the love story”.
Kobus Rossouw Lighting Design – kobusrossouw.net
I Capuleti E I Montecchi – OVS Arts of Italy
“Bellini’s opera spins out extended threads of wistful, longing song in passages that are among the best of the bel canto elegiac style.”
Brett Williams, Juliette Pauling, Pierre Malherbe – Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
“That which is seen, cannot be unseen; unless that which is seen was never seen in the first place. Or maybe it was seen, but not quite in the way it happened. If it even happened at all.”
Apple Face – Alexander Bar and Theatre
Last night I saw Apple Face, a witty, avant-garde comedy written by Pierre Malherbe, directed by Adrian Collins, and performed by Malherbe and two other talented actors – Juliette Pauling and Brett Williams. The story unravels during an outdoor music festival where plans for a “40th birthday celebration turn sour when somebody witnesses something disturbing” – or did they?
A WeekendSpecial review by Megan Furniss – Cape Town “improviser, performer, writer, and playwright” – describes the play as “layers of completely confusing, mind altering, drug swirling, but totally hilarious weird shit”. I admit that as an American – but frequent visitor to Cape Town – considerably older than most of the audience, finer points of the play’s South African slang and humor escaped me.
Brett Williams – ERM Stars
Regardless, it was still a hilarious, enjoyable performance. I’ve been on the road since October 2018 and feeling a bit dizzy with many new places and experiences to absorb. Being back in Cape Town is a treat, and I’m always up for a provocative, entertaining evening at Alexander Theatre!
Pierre Malherbe – Twitter
Pierre Malherbe Writer and Actor
Apple Face is Pierre Malherbe’s “first self-penned show”. He plays Phil who is with Ryan at a music festival. Furniss describes Ryan and Phil as “hapless friends who are a combination of loser, Allenesque whiner (reminiscent of Woody Allen), naïve chump, drug-fueled paranoid, and completely-too-old-for-the-jollwankers”.
Juliette Pauling Actress – View Artist APM Artistes Personal Management
Juliette Pauling Actor
Juliette Pauling presents a brilliant portrayal of three-in-one character – Chelsea, Sarah, and Jennifer – the “young party girl/girlfriend/serial killer/manipulator” who messes with Phil’s “fragile and hallucination-prone mind”.
Brett Williams plays Phil’s friend Ryan. He’s a seasoned actor and sometimes described as a “reluctant entrepreneur with a penchant for karaoke”.
Adrian Collins – Alexander Bar
Adrian Collins Director
Adrian Collins directs Apple Face with “delight and a deep understanding of how to get the actors to play the funniness”. A successful actor himself, Collins made his directing début in 2016 with A Steady Rain at the Fugard Theatre. In that production he and Nicholas Pauling portray the tormented lives of two Chicago police officers, Joey and Denny. Their efforts resulted in Collins and Palmer being nominated for Fleur du Cap awards for Best New Director and Best Actor.
Silkworm is a one-person, award-winning theatrical performance exploring the “ordinary things that make life extraordinary”. Artists who can captivate their audience non-stop for a solid hour are amazing! Taryn Bennett does that in her portrayal of Georgina, a “gregarious and socially awkward” young woman “about to have the single most important day of her life” – revealed in the final moments of the show.
Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre Cape Town – Alexander Bar
During her performance, Bennett interacts with the audience. She uses “storytelling and clowning techniques borrowed from Florence Italy’s Helikos School of Theatre Creation”. The “whimsical” performance combines humor with stark reality and leaves a deep impact.
Jenine Collocott Director – ABOUT Contagious
“Did you know that silkworms only live for about a week? I think…. You can check that on Google.” Georgina
Jenine Collocott Director
Silkworm – a Contagious Theatre production – is “conceived and directed by Jenine Collocott with additional dramaturgy by Nick Warren”. Based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Contagious combines the talents of several “critically acclaimed theatre makers with long-time Fringe producers”.
“Contagious produces independent fringe theatre that brings the creative freedom, simplicity, and energy of the festival circuit to mainstream audiences.”
Taryn Bennett – ABOUT Contagious
Taryn Bennett Actress
Taryn studied theatre at Rhodes University and has performed for TV, on stage, and at the National Arts Festival. Her critically acclaimed Silkworm performance won a 2018 Ovation Award. Recently Taryn’s performance in The Old Man and the Sea was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 2018 Naledi Theatre Awards.
Making Mandela – Contagious Theatre
“Clowning is about spotting, understanding, and surpassing individual and/or collective difficulties with the help of clown resources and theatre interactivity”. Les aventures de Zippo le clown
In Silkworm “the clown is influenced by the audience”. Members of the audience determine parts of the show and “no two shows are the same”. For the clown, “the audience is really there”. “There’s no fourth wall.”
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre Cape Town – PlacesMap.net
“Theatre Clowning is essentially an intuitive style of storytelling that’s quite naive yet super sophisticated. If a person is able to access the child within themselves, they will be taken on the journey with the clown.”
The Snow Goose – Knysna Arts Festival Contagious Theatre
Silkworm is a brilliant theater performance! It was a memorable evening!
It’s fantastic being back in Cape Town! A location that stole my heart during the first visit in 1987. The beautiful coastal city is surrounded by incomparable Table Mountain.
View of Table Mountain from My Gardens Apartment
I arrived on May 2nd after a series of flights beginning in Catania Sicily and passing through Rome and Addis Ababa Ethiopia – including two plane and terminal changes more tiring than the thirteen-hour flight.
Cape Town at Night – wpblink.com
During the flight from Addis Ababa to Cape Town naughty Indian children commandeered the aircraft running wild through the aisles disrupting everything. A passenger complained in a loud way and the children were forced to sit down and behave themselves. Upon arrival in Cape Town, they continued wreaking havoc in the immigration hall, running races through cordoned off lines, clearly undaunted by their reprimand on the airplane. Their parents seemed amused.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Cape Town – Rhino Africa
After Berlin, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Sarajevo, Belgrade, and Sicily, passengers on Ethiopian Airlines were more diverse than any of the places visited, except maybe Berlin. I’m still processing the time spent in Europe and the Balkans – a valuable learning experience with priceless memories!
Table Mountain from Melkbos – Discover Africa Safaris
When returning to Cape Town I always notice changes – some subtle, others not. I’ll be here through mid-June and then on to Hermanus, Onrus Beach, and Walker Bay.
Cape Town – Independent.ie
My apartment in Gardens neighborhood is in a high-rise building with retail and parking garages on the lower levels and residential above. I’m on the 17th floor and look out at Table Mountain. It’s thrilling to watch the mountain constantly changing depending on weather, wind, and sky. It almost seems close enough to touch!
Pink in Cape Town’s Sky that Artists Try to Capture
The building is secure and comfortable. Everything is within walking distance including a great choice of restaurants.
I have a rental car for day trips and places further away. After seven months without driving, it’s nice to be mobile again – even though South Africans drive on the wrong side of the road :)…
Table Cloth of Fog Over Table Mountain
Today the wind is howling – yesterday it was calm. Earlier the Table Mountain Table Cloth was visible as fog gently spewed over the flat-topped mountain. It’s mesmerizing watching sunrises and sunsets and spectacular scenery changes from foggy to clear and back again. Hiking on the mountain is part of my agenda.
The drought crisis is over but water and energy conservation are everyday concerns in Cape Town. Hopefully winter will bring significant rainfall. May temperatures are mild in the 60s and 70s but forecast to reach the 80s next week.
South Africa’s General Election is May 8 with another ANC (African National Congress) victory predicted. Elections are always exciting. South Africa’s economy and social inequalities create an emotional, volatile atmosphere with protests for change.
The massive Carr Fire near the California / Oregon border created terrifying “fire tornadoes“. They occur when a fire acquires “vertical vorticity and forms a whirl”. Fire tornadoes can “grow to gargantuan size with winds of over 90 mph”.
The Carr Fire ignited in late July. A month later, after “torching more than 200,000 acres,” it’s about 90 percent contained! Smoke from fires in Oregon, California, Washington, and nearby Colorado and Canada creates a surreal aura, bringing an eerie atmospheric haze, poor air quality, and vivid sunrises and sunsets.
Next Long Trip
I’ve started getting into the specifics of my next travel adventure. No matter what, this time I’m traveling with one piece of luggage!
Like in 2017, I’ll begin in Europe and eventually make my way back to South Africa. I decided to start in Berlin – a new city for me. I’ve studied Berlin’s East and West boroughs and have a few leads for rental apartments in well-located areas near attractions and transportation – Mitte, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, and Neukölln. Rents are reasonable, and the apartments look comfortable.
Thankfully Day Zero in Cape Town’s drought is now pushed out beyond 2019, but the government’s move toward land expropriation without compensation is a concern. More than two decades after the end of apartheid, land ownership remains a “highly emotive” subject for South Africans – that may be an understatement. According to the ruling ANC government, white people own 72 percent of private land, black people 4 percent, and other ethnic groups 24 percent.
Land expropriation is said to be “the most pressing social issue in the country”. However, some think high crime, corruption, and the “triple-time-bomb of poverty, unemployment, and inequality” are the real issues keeping South Africans awake at night.
Kayelitsha Township Outside Cape Town – Dan Kitwood Getty Images
Julius Sello Malema Leader Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – blouinnews.com
South Africa’s EFF – founded in 2013 and led by outspoken Julius Sello Malema – is a self-proclaimed “radical leftist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist movement that draws inspiration from the broad Marxist-Leninist tradition”.
My extended South African visa expires in 2020 – a regular entry (tourist) visa issued at the airport is good for 90 days. I haven’t decided whether to pursue the rigorous renewal process. The “retirement visa” has allowed me to make long trips (up to five years) to explore and better understand South Africa. I especially enjoy the Western Cape, hiking Table Mountain, volunteer work with young children, and vibrant Cape Town – a special and dear place to me. South Africa is a strikingly beautiful but complex and sometimes difficult country that can’t possibly be understood without spending extended time there.
During this period of rapid change, the National Development Plan (NDP) is the country’s detailed proposal addressing key issues for uniting South Africans.The lofty NDP goals to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality are to be implemented by 2030. What little I know of the NDP, it seems overwhelming, but I’m digressing – back to Berlin…
Clouds Over Table Mountain from Signal Hill Cape Town – Erik Pronske Getty Images
The NDP’s goal is to “unite South Africans, unleash the energies of its citizens, grow an inclusive economy, build capabilities, and enable the state and leaders to work together to solve complex problems”…
Berlin State Opera Staatsoper Unter den Linden – Wikipedia
Berlin This Fall
I plan to arrive in Berlin in September. Their fall weather is much like Oregon’s with cool but mild temperatures. When winter comes and it starts getting really cold, I’ll move south – not sure where yet. I’m considering exploring new places versus returning to more familiar areas. New countries of interest include Romania and Albania, but Italy and Spain also have moderate winter climates.
I’m looking for a three-month rental apartment in the Berlin-Mitte borough, the central section of former East Berlin. “Before the war and division of the city, Mitte was the center of Berlin. It’s regained its former pre-eminence to such an extent that many visitors never see the western side of the city.”
Mitte is the oldest and most historic part of Berlin with many cultural attractions and “ever-expanding restaurant, club, and arts scenes”.
In March after popular demand, producer and human rights activist Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre’s production of West Side Story returned to the Artscape. The American musical has been performed in Cape Town before and audiences raved about the brilliant actors, singers, dancers, music, and sets!
The spectacular opera house has an exciting ambiance, including gardens, rehearsal rooms, and a stylish foyer. Over the years, I’ve joined friends there for memorable opera, ballet, musical, and comedy performances! Last night’s brilliant performance didn’t disappoint!
Eric Abraham – Film, Television, Theatre Producer
Stephen Sondheim – Songwriter
“West Side Story is a musical about cultural differences, racism, forbidden love, revenge, and death.” _____________
Arthur Laurents – Screenwriter
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story’s timeless plot is set on the “harsh streets of New York City’s Upper West Side in the 1950s”.
Rival street gangs, the Puerto Rican Sharks and Caucasian Jets, battle in a turf-war to gain control of the neighborhood. Tensions rise when Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, leader of the rival Sharks.
The 1961 film version of West Side Story “won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture, best supporting actor and actress, best director, and best cinematographer”. The film also won a Grammy for best soundtrack. It’s undoubtedly one of the best musicals ever written.
Charl Johan Lingenfelder – Musical Director and Conductor
In 2018, West Side Story is once again “sweeping Capetonians off their feet”! How could it not with the fabulous Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra performing in the pit and an outstanding cast of forty exceptional performers?
Cast of Characters
Lynelle Kenned plays the role of Maria, a hopeless romantic who falls in love with Tony and finds herself at the center of a violent conflict between the Jets and Sharks. Kenned won the Fleur du Cap Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. Among her many talents Kenned is a soprano opera singer with a marvelous voice!
James Borthwick – Doc
Sven-Eric Muller – Diesel
Kevin Hack – Tony
Clint Lesch – Chino
Logan Timbre – Action
Craig Urbani – Detective Schrank
Lynelle Kenned – Maria
Kevin Hack – Tony
Daniel Richards – Bernardo
Bianca le Grange – Anita
Richard Lothian – Officer Krupke
Stephen Jubber – Riff
The main character Tony – former Jets leader – is torn between his gang friends and love for Maria. The part is played by talented US actor Kevin Hack who has performed the role almost 400 times. Hack recently completed an international tour playing in the 60th anniversary international tour of German producer Michael Brenner’s production of West Side Story.
Matthew Wild – Director
Singer, pianist, violinist, dancer, and actress Bianca Le Grange plays Anita, Maria’s friend and Bernardo’s girlfriend. Daniel Mpilo Richards plays Bernardo, proud leader or the Sharks.
Leonard Bernstein – Composer and Conductor
“The choreography exudes vibrant waves of emotion from act to act leaving its audience’s heart thumping!”
Artscape Theatre Centre Cape Town
Artscape Foyer Upper Level Lounge
Sculptures Artscape Entrance
The actors are multi-talented with impressive accomplishments and careers. The beautiful, strong dancers were magnificent!!! Main characters include:
Lynelle Kenned – Maria, Bernardo’s sister in love with Tony
Kevin Hack – Tony, former Jets leader in love with Maria
Bianca Le Grange – Anita, Jet, Bernardo’s girlfriend, Maria’s friend
It was an interesting, eclectic crowd attending the performance – an evening of entertainment by extraordinarily talented young artists! Many more than mentioned here helped with production of the musical.
Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Next weekend Artscape hosts the 19th Cape Town International Jazz Festival. The exciting lineup includes Alistair Izobell, Amanda Black, GrazRoots Project, Blinky Bill, Claire Phillips, Miles Mosley, Nduduzo Makhathini, Mabuta, Louis Moholo, and many more outstanding artists!
You never know what might happen at Cape Town’s Alexander Theatre – that’s the beauty of the place! The Mother City is rich in creativity, energy, and talented artists. Last night’s performance – In Bocca al Lupo – was a phenomenal one-woman show!
Before last night, I hadn’t experienced the art of kamishibai – “a twelfth century Japanese form of storytelling where a tale is presented with the help of cardboard panel illustrations”. In Bocca al Lupo was totally engrossing!
Jemma Kahn studied kamishibai under “veteran Japanese performer Roukda Genji, and the two performed throughout Japan”. In Bocca al Lupo is Jemma’s memoir – or maybe not. I didn’t know about her before last night’s performance, so the story that kept the audience engaged could have been her own, or perhaps it was fictional?
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
“While kamishibai may be the device Kahn uses to portray her tales, it’s not the only thing that sets her apart as a master storyteller.”
To summarize simplistically, the memoir begins as the story of a young South African woman who feels like a failure living a boring life. She decides to spice things up and expand her world by embarking on a two-year adventure teaching English in Japan.
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
“Kahn has the charisma of an old Hollywood starlet. To be a member of her audience is to be in a state of enchantment for a full 80 minutes.”
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
After living in Japan for several months, Jemma experiences culture shock and ponders its four stages – honeymoon, frustration, adjustment, acceptance – ha ha ha. This is something I can relate to firsthand having traveled abroad extensively on my own!
The romantic concept of living in a foreign country is often deceptive. Jemma does a masterful job of telling her (or someone’s) story of alienation as a foreigner in Japan – an unfamiliar country that in the end, was not for her.
“One’s travels can be rife with anxiety, loneliness, culture shock, and the depression that inevitably comes with isolation.”
The Epicene Butcher
Using a series of four “beautifully drawn images displayed on cardboard story panels” Jemma meticulously connects with her audience, drawing them in and leaving them hanging on her every word and description! She adds humor to her stories, even though some of the subjects she discusses aren’t funny.
Tertius Kapp Writer
Themba Stewart Lighting Design
Ella Buter Costume Design
Charl Johan Lingenfelder Sound Design
Jane Taylor Director
Jemma Kahn Writer, Actor
A multi-talented artist trained in fine art and drama, Kahn created many of the kamishibai panels she uses. Her talented award-winning crew are remarkable:
The Epicene Butcher – described as stories that “seduce the sinless and astonish the immoral” toured internationally and was performed 400 times.
Jemma Kahn We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants photo by Dean Hutton
Jemma Kahn has “captivated audiences from Cape Town to Edinburgh to Amsterdam with her unique take on the 12th century Japanese art form Kamishibai”.
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre – SafariNow
The phrase “in bocca al lupo” is an Italian idiom used in opera and theatre to wish a performer good luck before a performance. The standard response is “crepi il lupo” or, more commonly, simply “crepi” (may the wolf die). The Italian expression is similar to the English actor’s idiom “break a leg, reflecting a theatrical superstition in which wishing a person ‘good luck’ before a performance is considered bad luck”.
In Bocca Al Lupo Poster
There are several theories on how the Italian expression originated. For this show, “the phrase illustrates the leap of faith Jemma took to create her third kamishibai play”.
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
“The play follows Kahn on her journey to Japan and then Ireland, as she regales her audience with all the things we fail to mention when asked about our travels to another country.”
Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre
“Kintsugi is the Japanese art of restoring broken ceramics using lacquer and gold dust to repair cracks, emphasizing and assigning value to the site of repair. In Bocca Al Lupo has a similar effect. Kahn, co-writer Tertius Kapp, and director Jane Taylor expertly curate her story by selecting the cracks as the focal points which form the narrative.”
Although I often find memoirs boring, if In Bocca al Lupo really was one, it was a delightful, thoroughly enjoyed, and well-performer story – a must see in Cape Town!