Time to Chow Down in Alex McCarthy's CANNIBAL COUNTRY at Alexander Bar Upstairs Theatre

Time to Chow Down in Alex McCarthy's CANNIBAL COUNTRY at Alexander Bar Upstairs Theatre
Dustin Beck and Amelia Vernede will star in CANNIBAL COUNTRY

CANNIBAL COUNTRY, a new physical theatre drama written and directed by Alex McCarthy, will premiere at the Alexander Bar's Upstairs Theatre this February. The hour-long piece stars Dustin Beck and Amelia Vernede.

When a young man comes face to face with the nation's first legal eater of people, it confirms what everyone feared: the new law legalising cannibalism is not supposed to alleviate poverty at all. It has some other purpose. But what? To find out, the young man must survive, escape and uncover the true source of his pursuer's, his own and his country's dark impulses. CANNIBAL COUNTRY dares audiences to join him on a journey of justice, revenge, and self-worth.

CANNIBAL COUNTRY examines the violence capitalism inflicts on the minds of both the privileged and the underprivileged. Promising to be a visceral, thrilling and dynamic performance, the play explores the base impulse behind South Africans' lives: consumerism. Constructed as a free-market environment, the country as we know it would collapse without its citizens operating as consumers. The play aims to question how this subtle but constant action affects people's ways of being, people's ways of seeing others, and people's ways of seeing themselves.

An epic action-adventure two-hander, CANNIBAL COUNTRY spirals from the derelict skyscrapers of urban South Africa, down into its Protea guarded valleys, and back towards the cufflink-wearing horror at its heart. Told through text and physical theatre, the play brings together a young and exciting team of rising talent.

Alex McCarthy graduated from the University of Cape Town's Theatre and Performance programme in 2014, receiving the Mavis Taylor Award for Theatre-making. With Callum Tilbury, he won the Best Writing Award for UHM (2014) at the National Arts Festival Student Festival; the play was later performed at Artscape and at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK). McCarthy was Resident Playwright at the Baxter Theatre Centre in 2015. As part of his residency, he served as a dramaturg on MOST HONEST MAN at the Flipside, also directing his own writing in THE WHITE MAN'S GUIDE TO SACRIFICE in the Golden Arrow Studio. Last year, he also wrote and directed FOG DUCKING for AFDA Cape Town's live performance department, directing that college's graduating students in Neil McCarthy's RAINSHARK.

Like McCarthy, Amelia Vernede graduated from the University of Cape Town with a degree in Theatre and Performance in 2014. During that year, she performed in A LIE OF THE MIND, MEPHISTO, TWELFTH NIGHT AT THE MACBETHS, LION ON THE PATH and WHALE NATION. Following a performance in Nicholas Ellenbogen and Hilda Crone's EBOLA, Vernede 2015 in London where she performed in No Man's Time Automatics' DIDO AND AENEAS and played Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET and Cordelia in KING LEAR for Bards Theatre Company.

A third Universty of Cape Town graduate, Dustin Beck completed his Perfomance Diploma in 2015. Last year, he performed in Jacquo Singer's THE SEAGULL, Amy Jephta's BEGEERTE, Mdu Kweyama's THE DEAD WAIT. He has also worked with Jephta on DIE KORTSTONDIGE RAKLEWE V. ANNASTACIA W, as well as with Alfred Hinkel on MY COUNTRY SOUTH AFRICA (2010) and DANSCAPE (2008). Beck is also the co-founder of KleiSand Theatre Company, which focuses on uplifting communities through theatre and movement workshops and performances. Last year, he was directed by Jason Jacobs for that company's KALAHARI SWAAN.

CANNIBAL COUNTRY runs from 15 - 20 February at the Alexander Upstairs at 21:00. Tickets cost R80 if booked and prepaid online at the Alexander Bar's website, or R90 if paid for at the theatre itself. Tickets can also be purchased at the bar, which is situated at 76 Strand Street in Cape Town's city centre, anytime during its regular opening hours. Under 18s must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Keep up to date with events at Alexander Bar on Facebook and Twitter.

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