Review by MZWANDILE MAMAILA
Social media is ever-present and has changed the way we live. We become reliant on our likes and followers for self-esteem and social influence. More likes equal more respect. That is the dystopia contemporary society faces, and poet Lethabo Makweya, accompanied by the violin, flute, and jazz trio, reflect on this state of affairs in Fragments.
An all-black aesthetic sets the mood. “I was told I look better on the screen!” Makweya shouts as she takes selfies and videos, texts and calls, and stalks the lives of others. This is the new normal, a fragmented society where we rely on social media standards to determine our worth.
The audience is glued to Makweya’s angelic voice, her spoken word poetry reflecting on how social media has uprooted our lives and how we relate to each other. Using a white cell phone, Makweya uses movement to convey precisely what she means when she preaches about the modern-day oppression wrought by our cell phones.
The performance, composed and directed by Stacey van Schalkwyk, consists of four movements: Delight, The Rift, Scattered, and Fragments. It starts with a joyous melody, appreciating the convenient ways social media allows us to connect. But soon, it melts into a gloomy composition as the audience is encouraged to reflect on how poisonous social media is. We could easily follow the transition of each movement as the poem and music complimented each one. The message was self-explanatory and accessible.
In a spectacular fusion of music and poetry, this virtuoso ensemble takes our modern-day problems and turns them into art. They have brought expression to the thoughts of every child and adult whom social media, with all its fanciful lure, has wounded.