Fragmented Scribbles is on at the vFringe, at the virtual edition of The National Arts Festival, South Africa- until July 31, 2020.

Choreography, concept, performance, videography, and editing:  Smangaliso Siphesihle Ngwenya

Direct booking link:

Duration: 10 minutes

Tickets: R25

Genre: Dance

Age Recommendation: 8+

This dance/performance piece plays out in a kitchen. There is a microwave, kettle, hob and door. It is sleek with a black granite benchtop. The clock on the microwave is at zero. Time has lost its meaning in the lockdown kitchen which has become the stage, platform for Smangaliso Siphesihle Ngwenya’s Fragmented Scribbles. We are voyeurs, peering in through to the narrow galley kitchen as the figure slithers around and in the space- embracing, hugging, sliding. He is revealed and concealed. The door behind him is used as frame – containing him – barring his exit as he pushes up and down the grid. It is an elegiac piece. The figure is clearly locked in and locked out from outside but he retains his sense of playfullness as he uses his hands to form shadow puppets on the walls. Even in this lockdown space, there is the power of ideas, imagination and fantasy- using the body to conjure up magic. The figure is climbing the walls of this sterile kitchen (no food or decorations, although we glimpse inside a drawer at the end).  At the same time, there is the possibility of transcending the physical through play and taking the body to another realm.

Ngwenya has received a highly deserved 2020 Ovation Awar for Fragmented Scribbles. In addition to performing, he is videographer, editor, writer and choreographer. I have no idea how he filmed this piece in this confined space. It is a remarkable art/dance/performance film – impeccably edited with vivid imagery which we can all relate to- from hard lockdown- in our kitchens- pacing up and down – lost for words in time and space- scribbling out our anxieties and fears – and hopes.

Image credit: Supplied.