By Fahdia Msaka
Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. May the same be said about the truth?
Fake news is an all too-familiar concept following the COVID-19 pandemic. We see the spread of misinformation daily, but the ability to distinguish between real and fake is increasingly more difficult.
Produced by Nelisiwe Xaba and Mocke J van Veuren, Fake N.E.W.S begins with the only dialogue we hear in the production. After which it is purely a work of dance and movement. There are three news anchors replicating the standard South African news broadcast. The reporting team consists of an English, isiXhosa, and sign-language anchor. The speakers report on news from Makhanda in mundane and uninterested tones of voices. However, their tones shift to one of urgency when it’s time for international news.
Using satire, they address issues facing citizens on a daily basis – such as the pothole and water crisis in Makhanda, load shedding, and the objectification of women.
A notably unique element of this performance is its use of an overhead camera to capture the process of movement on stage. A projector simultaneously translates the contortions performed on stage into a perfectly packaged final product which we may watch on a screen. This illusion mirrors how modern media and information technologies create and package a meaning of the world that deflects the realities of the every day. As an audience, we are left to figure out what we perceive to be the truth.
Through the use of projections, minimal dialogue, and chaotically potent movement, the viewer is left with a quandary. What is fake news? How have we contributed to its spread? Though we do not receive the answers, we are drawn to seek out our own truth.