Interview: Godfrey Johnson talks about his new cabaret, Johnson InsanitIzedpremiering September 25 and 26, 2020 at The Masque, Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa

Dates: September 25 and 26, 2020

Venue: The Masque Theatre, 37 Main Road, Muizenberg

Tickets: R100

Bookings:  Computicket or e-mail: bookings@themasque.co.za or call 082 694 6879

We are in lockdown level 1 and live theatre is happening at The Masque Theatre with a Covid-19 compliant Spring Season. Award-winning Godfrey Johnson is on stage this weekend – September 25 and 26 – the opening weekend with his new cabaret: Johnson InsanitIzed – featuring original songs and musical theatre standards.

TheCapeRobyn: This is a new show and includes signature standards but also new material. Do the new songs relate to Covid and lockdown?

Godfrey Johnson: The time has allowed me to reflect on the past, present and future.  In between Netflix and trying to bake I remembered songs that I’d written over twenty years ago and that I’d totally forgotten about.  They now feel new to me and I am going to include some of them in this show and see how they feel from an older persons perspective. There are some Covid related songs about the absurdity of trying to become superhuman when there is nothing else to do. I have also included a few familiar songs and some songs that I am performing for the very first time. I always have what I call a Karaoke section just in case there is a request. 

TheCapeRobyn: This is your 2nd season of live on stage since lockdown. You did a season at Theatre Arts Admin – in lockdown level 2- The Shadow of Brel. Was it great to be back on stage, strange to be playing for a masked audience?

Godfrey Johnson: I loved performing the Brel show for the small masked audience. When the lights came up at the end it did feel a bit like Mars but the audience was respectful and lovely. I was just so happy to be there.

TheCapeRobyn:  Unable to perform on stage, how did you navigate through the months of lockdown?

Godfrey Johnson: I contributed a few items on other people’s streaming events. I am still thinking about doing a solo live streaming show. I used the time to structure some new work. I also started practicing drawing again.

TheCapeRobyn: This is a new show. It is premiering at The Masque?

Godfrey Johnson: It t is and it’s the first time I am doing it. I am looking forward to feeling an audience again.

TheCapeRobyn: I love the title of the show, InsanitIzed. Reflections on the title and how it relates to the show, your general sense of being as a performing artist who couldn’t work for five months?

Godfrey Johnson: A difficult time for all. I tried hard to remain optimistic and I became very aware of the unpredictability of everything. I am always questioning the notion of sanity and why we often feel the need to sanitize our creativity no matter how nutty. The show is mostly made up of songs that reflect various aspects of what is considered ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’.

TheCapeRobyn: Anything else to add?

Godfrey Johnson: Just really happy to be alive.

❇ Image credit: Supplied.