Theatre preview: Faith Kinniar’s Theatre of Cruelty inspired, absurdist play, Antie Wi’oekal, premieres as a livestream staging at The National Arts Festival (NAF) 2021
|Antie Wi’oekal at The National Arts Festival 2021 ANTIE WI’OEKAL | LIVE STREAM |
Live stream: July 17, 2021 at 6pm Recording: VOD – video-on-demand of the live stream performance–July 22-24, 2021 Tickets: R50 Direct booking link: https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/antie-wioekal-live-stream/ Writer and performer: Faith Kinniar Director: Jeremeo Le Cordeur Lighting: Alfred Rietmann Producer: Faith Kinniar firstname.lastname@example.org
Faith Kinniar’s Anti Wi’oekal is being presented on the Curated Programme at The National Arts Festival as a live streamed performance, from Makhanda, on July 17 at 6pm. The live stream goes out online via the festival site. Here is the link ANTIE WI’OEKAL | LIVE STREAM The recording of the live stream will then be available from July 22-24. These dates are important. The NAF is on until July 31 and there are shows which are available until the end of July but a number of shows have limited release, so get the dates into your diary. First prize is to watch the live stream of Anti Wi’oekal on July 17 at 6pm. Watching live provides a sense of being there at the show. We are at the show, we just happen to be viewing online. Faith Kinniar is a black, queer, South African actor, playwright, satirist, and cabaret artist and known for her distinctive and unflinching voice. She has a wry sense of humour and comedic timing. I witnessed Kinniar’s satirical-comedy in action when I saw perform in her satirical cabaret, Valencia, at the Alexander Bar in January 2019. The Alexander Bar no longer exists and here we are in lockdown 2021. In her work, Kinniar has grappled with themes of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and global consciousness. It is wonderful that during year two of lockdown, Covid, we are being treated to a new work by which she describes as a “Theatre of Cruelty inspired, absurdist play which attempts to highlight how so-called coloured femininity is caricatured and exploited for comedic value.” She adds that it is a “virtual showcase.” Jeremeo Le Cordeur is directing.
Anti Wi’oekal may be translated into English as Auntie Whomever/Whoever. She is like the Aunty Everyone. Kinniar says that through her Auntie character, she “tells stories, shares gossip, and gives her best advice as she endures many trials and tribulations in her quest for a new gown.” The “palpable campness” of Auntie, ensures that wherever she goes hilarity follows along with unsolicited opinions about hair. She adds: “It is not a contemporary theatre production and therefore not narrative focussed. In this piece, I deprioritized stories in favour of representations disembodied from their typical narrative”. The first incarnation at the NAF will be 30 minutes. It is hoped that the play will be developed further for live performance – in a theatre- with an audience-in-attendance. Read the Q &A with Kinniar below and get a sense of this new work.
|Faith Kinniar talks about Anti Wi’oekal|
What inspired this project?
I read The Theater and its Double around the time that Lalla Hirayama was under scrutiny for her racially insensitive Tik-Tok video. Discussions arose about the hypocrisy of so-called coloured men having license to do the same thing without criticism, which led me to think about creating a Theatre of Cruelty play that addressed our subconscious obsession with this type of representation.
What is Anti Wi’Oekal about and why do you think people should see it?
It is about the representation of so-called coloured women by so-called coloured men through a gaze which is exploitative in terms of gender, socio-economic status and race.
How did you come to the name “Anti Wi’Oekal”?
Many of these shows are titled Aunty Something: Aunty Merle, Tannie Dora, etc. The jist of all of them are the same. It’s a man playing a woman and that’s funny. The exact aunty is irrelevant. They are different brands of the same trope. So the aunty in this show, is an amalgamated distortion of these meaningless characters- Aunty Whomever.
Were you involved in any of the stories you wrote about? Are they other people’s stories?
It is not a contemporary theatre production and therefore not narrative focussed. In this piece, I deprioritised stories in favour of representations disembodied from their typical narrative.
What is your process when it comes to writing and performing? I have an idea around which to create a play and then I write sketches saying the various things that I want to communicate. Then a director might suggest that I add or subtract from the text in order to get the overall message across better. In performance I do text analysis. I then find the rhythm and life of a character through repetition until I am comfortable enough to just play.
What have you found most challenging about this project?
I was too self-conscious trying to write a surrealist piece which is more in line with Theatre of Cruelty, but I decided to make it absurdist, which was still very challenging.
What do you think are the challenges and/or issues theatre-makers face today?
What do you hope the audience take away from the piece?
I would hope that so-called coloured men would be more inclined to challenge themselves in future artistic exploits instead of reaching for this tired trope by default -due to sheer lack of imagination and creativity.
What is your plan for the future of the production? What would you like to achieve going forward?
It would be nice to extend it to a 50 minute production.
|Faith Kinniar –writer/performer and producer of Anti Wi’oekal |
The black, queer, South African actor, playwright, satirist, and cabaret artist was born and raised in Bellville and graduated from Stellenbosch University Drama Department. She specialized in cabaret and was taught by Marthinus Basson. In 2016 she made her professional debut with self-written, produced, and performed her cabaret Valencia at the first KKNK Uitkampteater (the festival’s 20min tent-theatre project) for which she received the KykNet Fiesta award for best emerging artist. Her play Syria? debuted in 2016 at Artscape’s New Voices season and was directed by Quanita Adams, it received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at NAF 2017. Her works are marked by her unique sense of humour and use of stereotype which borders on shock-comedy in the form of a grotesquely bigoted antagonist whose views are usually counterbalanced either through moralistic protagonists or a sobering contextualization of the subject discussed in the work. Through satire, she highlights the most bigoted attitudes in local South African society as well as the international community by personifying and caricaturing bigotry to draw attention to the absurdity and disgrace of prejudice.
Jeremeo Le Cordeur-director of Anti Wi’oekal
Jeremeo Le Cordeur is from and currently based in Wellington in the Western Cape. Since graduating from City Varsity’s School of Media and Creative Arts, he has been working as an art photographer and has also taken on various roles in theatre-making. As producer and director, Le Cordeur has been at the helm of many successful theatre productions. In 2014, he directed Tannie Dora goes bos, Warren Meyer’s hilarious and suspense and murder drama that was performed at Artscape’s eighth Women’s Humanity Arts Festival. In 2019, he directed Mama, a character piece on which he collaborated with Chenal Kock. In the same year, his one-man shows Jerry, an unconventional hero, and Dude, wa’s my bakkie? saw the light. In 2019 he received the NATi Jong Sterre award at the Suidoosterfees. And in 2020 he received the Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award at The National Arts Festival in Makhanda for his adaption of Ouma Lilly & haar Klong.
❇ Sponsored content. Pics of Faith Kinniar by Jeremeo Le Cordeur.