Third World Bunfight Presents Brett Bailey's SAMSON

Third World Bunfight Presents Brett Bailey's SAMSON

From 8 to 10 March, Third World Bunfight will present four performances of Samson at Rhenish in Stellenbosch. It is written, designed and directed by Brett Bailey and created with the support of The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and the Institut Francais, in collaboration with Woordfees and the National Arts Festival. Samson is a sensuous, poetic and thought-provoking dance-music-theatre piece set in a dystopian contemporary context of political extremism, inequality, human displacement and violence.

The biblical story of Samson is a compelling, if bewildering, tale of humiliation, romance, betrayal and violent revenge. It recounts the struggle of a strongman who is anointed by the Hebrew god to liberate his people from their Philistine overlords. Following a series of victories, he is betrayed into the hands of his enemies by Delilah, a Philistine woman, who seduces him into revealing that his power resides in his hair. Blinded and jailed for several years, he is finally exhibited within the royal court, but his hair has regrown, his power is restored, and he brings down the state in an act of apocalyptic self-immolation. Beyond the violence and the heroics, the central theme is loss: of home, of self, of faith, of so much fragile beauty to the blind forces of avarice. Bailey's interpretation of the biblical myth brings the tale crashing into the 21st century, and orders it within his concerns around migration, intolerance, colonialism, and oppressive capitalist policies, and draws on his fascination with shamanism, ritual, the repressed and the non-rational. Bailey has figured Samson, the character, as an avatar for the repressed rage of those people that have been trampled by expansionist forces for centuries.

The cast of ten includes Luthando "Toto" Tsodo as Samson, Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi as Delilah, and Apollo Ntshoko, Jonno Sweetman, Mapumba Cilombo, Mikhaela Kruger, Monde Abey Xakwe, Shane Cooper, Wiseman Sithole and Zanele Mbizo. Choreography is by one of South Africa's most celebrated dancer-choreographers Vincent Mantsoe, whose shamanic spiritual orientation infuses his work. The live electronic music score is by the award winning South African jazz and electronic musician-composer, Shane Cooper, performed onstage by a four-piece outfit. Earlier this month, Brett Bailey was awarded France's prestigious Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters). His idiosyncratic, iconoclastic works have been performed by Third World Bunfight internationally and in South Africa, and focus a probing lens on the world we live in; in particular the post-colonial landscape of Africa, and the historical and contemporary relations between Africa and the West.

Performances take place at Rhenish Girls High School in Stellenbosch on Friday 8 March at 8:30pm, Saturday 9 March at 12:30pm and 8:30pm and Sunday 10 March at 11:00am and 3:00pm.Tickets cost R120 to R180 via Computicket, 08619158000, or R200 at the door. Age restriction: no under 16's.

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