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Review: CONSTELLATIONS Promises an Enchanting Experience at Spier Wine Farm

Review: CONSTELLATIONS Promises an Enchanting Experience at Spier Wine Farm

The third iteration from theatre maker Brett Bailey

This is the third year that CONSTELLATIONS is running out at Spier Wine Farm and I'm glad that I finally got to experience it. Audience members are taken on a guided wander through the wilderness to meet the various Guardians of the Forest - performance artists who are hidden in amongst the trees and lit only by lanterns and fire. It's a magical setting for performances and the whole experience was unlike anything I'd done before.

For this year's iteration of CONSTELLATIONS, creator Brett Bailey chose to have nine Guardians who are all women. The location for this theatre event is a small island that sits between the Eerste and Bloukip Rivers on Spier Wine Farm. You don't visit all nine Guardians in one evening. Audiences are divided into two groups - one takes the red route and the other takes the blue route (I was on the blue route). The two groups are then divided even further into four smaller groups - often getting separated from the people you came with. I believe the idea behind this is remove all distractions from the experience - you don't really have anyone to chat to, so you focus fully on your surroundings and the performances. I believe another thought behind this is that each group gets a slightly different experience as the performers aren't sticking to a script. When I met up again with my friend at the end of the route, we had seen the same four performers, but our experiences had been quite different. There's something very exciting about this as it truly captures the idea that live performance is a living, breathing creation and no two performances or experiences will ever be the same.

For me, the standout Guardian of the blue route was Ncebakazi Mnukwana. Her singing and use of indigenous instruments was beautiful. I also loved the rapport she built with our group, and how she brought us into the moment. This was something that I felt was a missing from the other Guardians I saw. I felt like I wanted more intimacy and connection because that is what the setting was calling for. We were in the forest in the semi-dark, and I wanted to be drawn into each moment with the Guardians.

Review: CONSTELLATIONS Promises an Enchanting Experience at Spier Wine Farm

Our guides through the forest on the blue route were wonderful. They had a great sense of camaraderie between each other and the guide for my group, Ayavuya Cekiso, was brilliant. She was so bubbly and full of humour.

CONSTELLATIONS truly is an experience... And the interesting thing about this review is that I can't actually tell you what you are going to experience when you go. Each performance by the Guardians is felt in the moment and there's no telling which route you'll be on specifically. It's something you'll just have to experience for yourself - if you were lucky enough to get tickets, that is. The event is now sold out for this run.

What I can do is recommend that you wear comfortable, closed shoes for walking because you are on your feet on dusty trails for quite a bit. It's not a difficult trail but you do want to be comfortable for the walking. I can also highly recommend booking a picnic for before you enter the forest. The Spier picnics are delicious and we had a great time enjoying the food on the beautiful grounds as the sun was setting. There is also overnight accommodation available that I have been told is amazing. I sadly couldn't stay over this weekend.

Photo credit: Nick Aldridge

CONSTELLATIONS is on at Spier Wine Farm until 19 November 2022 and is officially SOLD OUT. No under 12s and parental guidance is advised. Please note there is a 20-minute walk through the farm along uneven ground to the first stop so please remember to wear walking shoes and dress warmly.



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From This Author - Faeron Wheeler

Faeron is a Cape Town based actor, writer and producer who has been involved in theatre since she was only three years old. She studied drama and dancing throughout school and then went on to d... (read more about this author)


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