By Ruvesen Naidoo
Whether you’re guilty of being someone that can’t keep in a laugh or two out at a funeral, a person who fusses over American’s narrow impressions of South Africa, or you’re just someone who finds the navigation of contemporary relationships a daunting experience, then the offerings in Spark in the Dark’s Play Things are for you.
As the audience took their seats in the Graham Hotel, many were curious about the context and contents of the show. On the programme sits the name of Sophie Joans as curator of the night. Joans has quickly become known for putting on sensational work during the National Arts Festival (NAF), following the raging success of her solo show, ILÊ last year which saw her taking home a Standard Bank Gold Ovation Award.
Play Things has an intriguing premise. Eight fast-paced acts are performed by artists, each varying in their style of performance, focusing on different aspects of everyday life to collectively immerse the audience into a world of theatre. In this sense, the format of Play Things allows writers and theatremakers old and new to test new ideas, and gauge audience responses to their works in progress.
With a deliberate limit on the use of props, or any sort of performance aids, the miscellany of comedians, actors, poets, and singers (who also play the ukulele!) occupied the stage with a variety fo works that all seemed to be, enjoyed by the audience.
While in some cases, the works felt slightly indistinct, the collective offering serves to provide a unique overview of the kinds of contemporary theatre being produced across the country.