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Season 7 Announced at the Centre for the Less Good Idea

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The season is scheduled to take place from 22 to 26 September 2021. 

Season 7 Announced at the Centre for the Less Good Idea

The Centre for the Less Good Idea is proud to announce a new selection of collaborative and interdisciplinary work for its 7th Season, scheduled to take place from 22 to 26 September 2021.

The Season, originally scheduled to take place in April 2020, is curated by the Centre for the Less Good Idea founder, William Kentridge and animateur, Phala Ookeditse Phala. The festival of new works will take place over 5 days at Arts on Main in downtown Johannesburg.

Tickets are available for single programmes as well as exciting double and triple bills and audiences are encouraged to book online as soon as possible in order to secure their spaces as theatre capacities have been reduced in keeping with Covid-19 protocols.

The Centre for the Less Good Idea looks forward to welcoming audiences back into their spaces to experience incredible live performances once more.

Season 7 details as follows :

Season 7 is co-curated by founder of the Centre for the Less Good Idea, William Kentridge, and Animateur for the Centre, Phala Ookeditse Phala, and grapples with the primary provocation of performing text. What are the ways of transforming a text designed to be read, into a performance on stage? Is it necessary to make this change (of text to performance)? Is there anything to be gained in this process?

"These are not questions we asked ourselves," explains Kentridge. "Rather we said: 'Let this be a provocation, let us see what emerges'. The many performances, films and installations of Season 7 are the result."

Many of the participants in Season 7 (about 40) engaged with the provocation and have produced pieces based on texts by writers such as Joseph Conrad, Ben Okri, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Antjie Krog, Ferdinand Oyono, Franz Kafka, and Sol T. Plaatje. Books, poems, court transcripts, Wikipedia entries, songs, commission reports and more serve as points of departure for Season 7.

"As with all of the other Seasons, we have privileged the fragment, the short epic, finding new ways of thinking and making, rather than feeling the need to make conventional 90 minute pieces of theatre," says Kentridge.

"This Season sees a return to text as the basis of an exploration. This is not to privilege text but to find innovative ways to per(form) it, untangle, respond, grapple and interrogate its performative elements whether it be its sound, its silence, its emotion, its movement or its immobility," explains Phala. "With text as the basis, this Season takes us into the performance mode of 'staging as a response'. In this Season the world of the story occupies our imagination through costume, illusion, and staging."

Another point of provocation for this Season's work is the Pepper's Ghost. Old technology from the 19th Century Theatre, carnival, and amusement park, the Pepper's Ghost is a shrewd optical illusion technique disguised as a hologram, a mirror, or a plain sheet of glass.

Coupled with hi-resolution video filming and editing technology, as well as projection and live performance, the Pepper's Ghost allows for the meeting of analogue and digital technologies to put forward a theatrical experience that draws on the power of illusion and distorted or fabricated ways of seeing. Distorting present realities, conjuring lost histories, presenting immediate metaphors, or communicating across time and space are all possible through the Pepper's Ghost.

Kentridge explains that while the Pepper's Ghost was new territory for artists and curators alike, it provided the basis for some novel and experimental work this Season and will also be explored in more depth later in the year.

"It was a discovery for all of us - curators, actors, artists, and directors. In the end, eight projects were made in our ghost box. But the discoveries and experimentation here are just the beginning. It is planned to have an Academy for Pepper's Ghost later in the year," says Kentridge.

This Season also saw the launch of SO | The Academy for the Less Good Idea with renowned costume designer Greta Goiris at its helm. Under the guidance of Goiris, six costume design mentees worked to produce costumes for the artists and performances of Season 7. Phala and Kentridge explain that at the heart of The Academy are new ways of teaching and learning, neither academic and theoretical, nor simply practical, but concerned with thinking in and through material.

"It's about costume as dramaturgy, costumes not just to be worn, but costume as one of the narrative elements of a production," they explain. "The costumes used in this Season are one of the results of this first academy."

In addition to Season 7 being one of the The Centre's largest and lengthiest Seasons of work, it is also the first Season without Bronwyn Lace at the head as Animateur. Lace remains in close contact with The Centre, and her role is now taken up by Phala Ookeditse Phala. Kentridge and Phala explain that Season 7 will also see Lace participating as a collaborative artist.

"During her time in Johannesburg at The Centre, Bronwyn separated her personal artwork from the projects at The Centre," they explain. "We are delighted in this Season to welcome her as a participant, with contributions to the Pepper's Ghost and an installation of her own work in the Centre's original performance space"


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