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ANOTHERKIND Will Be Performed at National Arts Festival This Month

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AnotherKind will be live-streamed via Zoom July 15-17, 2021.

Local performer and writer Amy Louise Wilson had no choice but to live the message of her award-winning play, Another Kind of Dying, if she was going to realise her dream of bringing it to this year's National Arts Festival (NAF).

As the 2020 winner of the annual Distell National Playwright Competition, she was entitled to have her script staged in Makhanda at this year's NAF, one of the most prestigious events on the South African theatrical calendar.

But with Covid taking care of this career-catapulting opportunity, she had to reimagine her prize, and as she explains: "From the death of conventional theatre staging imposed by Covid regulations, we conceived a live-curated work for streaming via this year's festival's digital channels."

The new format invited artistic collaborators - from actors to directors to collage and sound artists - to take part in a six-week creative lab to bring the story to life in an experimental process which spanned multiple media and disciplines.

AnotherKind is the adaptation of her original script, Another Kind of Dying. "In one way, it's intended as a funeral for a play that could never be staged. But it's also an exciting celebration. It marks the birth of a new, multi-media, hybrid experience which asks the questions: 'what can theatre become in this new world?' and 'how can we make sure storytelling survives?'"

Another Kind of Dying, which was written for and with actor Aphiwe Livi, tells the story of Silumko, who moves from the rural Eastern Cape to Johannesburg after the death of his father. "It's a coming-of-age story about identity, perceptions of patriarchy and masculinity in South Africa and the burdens they impose. But it is as much about a shedding of expectations and the joy that emerges from living a new life on your own terms. We have tried to mirror that in the way the new work has been created."

Wilson's NAF work builds on and breaks apart the original script across a series of short, filmed performance and sound pieces. "The online archive for this process will be activated through a series of live-streamed performances," she says. "These part-scripted/part improvised performances are to be presented as a live-typed essay that frames the narrative and provides context on the process - basically a 'scrolling tour' through the archive of filmed pieces."

"For me, it's a thrilling way of giving audiences an intimate view into 'another kind' of process - a meeting of textual fragments, recorded rehearsals, as well as performance and sound experiments. The project has transformed the script from a single-authored work to a co-created story told by multiple voices. The idea is to challenge and extend the formal limits of live collaboration and theatre."

AnotherKind brings together Aphiwe as lead actor, with scenography and art design by Francois Knoetze; creative and performance direction by Joanna Evans; sound design and original composition by Gugulethu Duma; playlist curation by Zara Julius & KONJO; and collage art by Duduetsang Lamola (blk banaana). The website archive has been designed by Francis Burger. The choral work is performed by Iman Isaacs, Nhlanhla Nkwanazi, Buhle Ngaba, Babalwa Makwetu with performance appearances by Kathleen Stephens, Thembekile Komani and Phamela Manzi.

AnotherKind will be live-streamed via Zoom:

15 July at 19:00: https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/anotherkind/

16 July at 16:00: https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/anotherkind-16-july/

17 July at 19:00: https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/anotherkind-17-july/

Visit the links above for more information and to purchase tickets at R40pp.

All NAF events will be shown exclusively via its digital platforms.

Wilson is honoured that Distell and NAF have given her the chance to reconceive her script. "They have been generous and courageous in allowing me to re-imagine my script in this new, experimental format."

Distell, rooted in South Africa, is considered Africa's leading producer and marketer of alcohol beverages including spirits, wines, ciders and ready-to-drinks (RTDs). The company has been investing in in arts and culture for over half a century and remains as committed as ever to developing new talent.

Says Phumza Rengqe of Distell's corporate marketing division; "Funding arts and culture is investing in our future. Distell fully recognises how much our cultural life contributes to the health of our communities. We see our role as supporting the arts by showcasing new and diverse talent to build better cross-cultural understanding and accommodation, upliftment, economic opportunity and tourism too."


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