Interview: Sabine van Rensburg talks about taking Zip Zap’s MOYA from film to stage – premiering February 24-26, 2022- in the Zip Zap Dome, in the Artscape precinct, Cape Town Foreshore

What: MOYA – the show – A Narrative of the South African Spirit
When: February 24-26, 2022
Where: Zip Zap Dome, in the Artscape precinct, Cape Town Foreshore
Tickets: From R405includes canapés on arrival
Direct booking link: Quicket or  

MOYA – an acrobatic film by Zip Zap Circus was screened online, during April 2021. The multi-layered film combined elements of documentary with spoken word, penned by Jason Barnard, a Zip Zap company member. To get a sense of the stirring lyrics, click here: Now Zip Zap, is taking MOYA to the stage. Sabine van Rensburg of Zip Zap, provides insights into the process of developing the film into a stage show- retaining the essence of the film but working with the thrilling medium of live performance:

From screen to Zip Zap Circus Dome

The live show is inspired by the film but has been adapted for the stage.  Will Jason Bernard’s spoken lyrics and rap be used in the stage show? Sabine van Rensburg: “We are currently in the process of creation and rehearsals of MOYA Live. We absolutely intend to stay true to the essence of the film and use Jason’s rap and lyrics as a poetic narrative. The style of Zip Zap’s professional wing is taking a turn towards contemporary circus South African flavour, so many things will be at the discretion of the audience to interpret and connect with in a personal way.”  

Adapting the film for stage

Insights into physically taking images from MOYA – the film – to the stage? Sabine van Rensburg: “I worked with Brin Schoellkopf and Niko Pulka, virtually for several months before arriving back in South Africa, as I was working abroad.  In order to write the show, we brainstormed new ideas, using the film as a reference, but we have taken into account, the new context and cast; the fact that it’s being performed in the Zip Zap Dome and with four new performers. Some of the original cast who were involved with the film were not available for the live show. They have pursued other professional careers or studies. For the live show, we focused on creating mood boards for each scene, with inspiration images for costume design, set design ad lighting design. We extensively researched African music. We worked on creating a skeleton – a rough running order- of the show. We also worked hard at handling the logistics such as schedules, production meetings and deadlines.”

Film clips screened on stage

The film was made when live performance was not possible and the film made use of landscape and spaces in the Cape. Now the show will be staged indoors, in the Dome. Will clips from the film be used in the stage show? Sabine van Rensburg: “We do not plan to have footage of the film as the cast is different, however many things are yet to be decided and discovered in the process and budget allowing for a projector.”

MOYA the film and MOYA – the live show – two different incarnations

Is MOYA – the stage show -a companion piece to the film? Or will MOYA- the stage show – be a very different experience? Sabine van Rensburg: “Live performance and film are two completely unique experiences. Live performance allows for the audience to feel the adrenaline; the tension and the suspense so vividly. However, with the magic of editing, film allows us to manipulate what the viewer experiences, framing only parts of a body, slowing down time, suspending an acrobatic moment or zooming in on micro details like a bead of sweat rolling down an acrobats face. The live show will definitely feel different. But both – film and live show- hold immense value in their own way. “

The audience – the film MOYA and stage show MOYA

The artists will have an audience which they obviously did not have, when making the film. They will hear the gasps and swoons from the audience as they perform live which must be great but I can imagine that it is also challenging in terms of concentration? Sabine van Rensburg: “On the contrary, hearing audiences’ reactions breathes life and energy into the performer! It excites the artist and the show becomes a shared moment, a dialogue of exchange and appreciation for one another. Filming performance and movement is a challenge as you are essentially playing to no one. Zip Zap is absolutely thrilled to going back live, with an audience. We have missed the audience and we hope they have missed us too.” Read more about MOYA – the live show, here:

MOYA – the film: Jason Barnard and Phelelani Ndakrokra – in a still from MOYA- the film. They will be on stage, in MOYA – the stage show – inspired by the film – with poetic narration and rap – but MOYA- the stage show- is a very different iteration of MOYA – the film. Supplied.

✳ Featured image – MOYA – the stage show. Jacobus Claassen (aka Trompie) and Jason Barnard. Images supplied. Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn: