The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) is treating culture vultures across South Africa to a wide variety of free entertainment.
“We offer loads of free content that festival goers can enjoy in the comfort of their homes and in their own time,” says Hugo Theart, Artistic Director of the KKNK.
The offering kicks off with two acclaimed stage productions that can be viewed on the KKNK’s website exclusively until 17 January 2022. Brandbaar with Rehane Abrahams and Lukhanyiso Skosana, is set against the background of an episode from the Indian Mahabharata e-mail. Contemporary realities are woven into the stories of two women in the Cape Colony’s founding years.
Queenie-hulle with Jill Levenberg, Louw Venter, Brendon Daniels, Lynelle Kenned and Jaques de Silva, written and directed by Christo Davids and Lloyd Davids, tells the story of a group of homeless people who have made the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town their home. Christo Davids’ acclaimed production was only on stage at Aardklop 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic curtailed other runs.
According to Alexa Strachan, CEO of Aardklop, it is great for the players to be able to share their work with KKNK audiences. “The fate of the defenceless and nameless in our dear country is becoming increasingly relevant. In making this theatre film, we reminded each other again why this story remains so relevant: we tend to just look after ourselves and hide within our own circle. Queenie-hulle reminds us of our own vulnerability and knocks on the door of our conscience regarding the power and necessity of compassion and respect for each and every one. But let me add, it’s also just good storytelling, as is typical of Christo: it’s really good entertainment and hilarious, before it ties you in. Like life, I suppose – funny, but not for sissies.”
Netwerk24’s Deborah Steinmair writes about this work: “Christo Davids has created monumental theatre with echoes of Beckett and Brecht. It’s a three-penny opera, a beggar’s ballet, a flea circus, a ballad of the homeless, waiting for housing and hope. The game is hypnotic and gripping. Eventually, each audience member recognises his or her own insecurity and sense of alienation in this country. Of course, there is a bloody climax and the audience is finally shocked, dumbstruck and tearful. It’s theatre that cuts to the bone.”
Theart further explains that there are also three theatre dramas available on DStv Catch Up, after their exclusive airing on VIA in December and January. “VIA is keeping it festive with Koningin Lear (written by Tom Lanoye, translated by Antjie Krog with Antoinette Kellermann, André Roothman, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Rolanda Marais and Neels van Jaarsveld, amongst others), Asem (directed by Marthinus Basson with Antoinette
Kellermann, Edwin van der Walt, Stian Bam and Tinarie van Wyk Loots) and Opdrifsel (met Brendon Daniels en Tinarie van Wyk Loots).”
Five KKNK series, supported by Absa, are available on the KKNK YouTube channel. This includes Oudtshoorn se mense, a special series where residents from Oudtshoorn share not only their talents, but also discuss this wonderful town and region; 21 Life Lessons where inspiring South Africans like amongst others Diana Ferrus, Sandra Prinsloo, Marthinus Basson, Prof Rachel Jafta, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Soli Philander and Frazer Barry were filmed where they share their life lessons; KKNK Comedy Minutes where comedians and storytellers like Rob van Vuuren, Conrad Koch, Shimmy Isaacs, Dana Snyman, Kagiso Mokgadi, Marion Holm, Alan Committie and Pietman Geldenhuys share a few stories and jokes; Skielik is die ligte af!, a range of discussions lead by clinical psychiatrist and psychoanalytic therapist, Melody Pick, who places the spotlight on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the arts in South Africa and The Karoo Project, a unique music series with Zolani Mahola, Jitsvinger and Native Young, with the breath-taking Karoo as background.