AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

THEATER

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Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Buckingham Palace, Cape Town

My Word! Redesigning Buckingham Palace, is a one-man play, written by Sylvia Vollenhoven and performed by co-writer and actor, Basil Appollis. It is based on the life and work of the writer, Richard Rive, who grew up in District Six and wrote about the community and it’s characters such as Mary Bruintjies, who ran a

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Political Theater: ‘Breakfast with Mugabe’

"Breakfast with Mugabe," on extended run Off-Broadway in New York City, is set in Zimbabwe in 2001, on the eve of national elections. Based on newspaper reports of the time that alleged that Robert Mugabe had turned...

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

What’s it like to be an artist in Egypt right now

On the last Sunday of January, an Egyptian musical theatre group performed a bare-bones rendition of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables in colloquial Arabic to a standing room only crowd in New York City’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia. In fact the...

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Controversy surrounding the National Theatre in Lagos

The National Arts Theatre is visible from the motorway system which connects Lagos Island and the mainland: an iconic modern structure which rises, it is often noted, like the peak of a military cap from the surrounding...

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Restaging the Death of Patrice Lumumba

In the central public park of Fort-de-France, capital of Martinique, stands a statue of Empress Joséphine, who grew up on a sugar plantation to the south of the island. Her stone head has been hacked off, in...

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Madonna vs Joyce Banda: Celebrity Deathmatch (Philanthropy Edition)

We had been studiously avoiding coverage of Madonna’s latest trip to Malawi, but such is the deliciousness of the excoriating 11-point press release put out yesterday by Joyce Banda that we couldn’t resist wading in. These two...

Monday, February 11th, 2013

When ‘Africa’ at the Theatre Goes Wrong

Imagine you are a person in the Netherlands interested in African events or at least cultural events where Africa is (supposedly to be) prominently featured and you pick up a flyer of an event saying in Dutch:...

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Is Chester Missing blackface?

He performs to packed-out theatres and is a regular correspondent on a satirical television news show, Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola (LNN) on South African private TV channel, Etv. He’s at times raucously funny and almost...

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

New, Old South African Theater

In the “new South Africa … miracles leave us exactly where we began.” So says John, Julie’s servant, in Yael Farber’s play, Mies Julie, playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, suggesting that little has changed in...

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

World Theater Day in Tunis, Part II

March 25th is dedicated in the world to theater. In the spirit of that day, stage actors gathered at Habib Bourguiba Avenue, in front of the Municipal Theatre, Tunis. But, apparently, this event coincided with a demonstration...

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Woyzeck on the Highveld

In case you were too young to attend William Kentridge’s original version of the early nineties puppet play ‘Woyzeck on the Highveld’ (as I was), the South African Handspring Puppet Company gives us a new chance to...

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

R.I.P. Dieudonné Kabongo

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Holland is Kaaps

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

The Ticket

Video of short sketch comedy scene with South African actors from a Dutch TV show. The setting is the 2010 World Cup. – Sean Jacobs

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Everybody Say “Yeah Yeah!”

Some of us will be a bit preoccupied with, you know, the biggest event in the world this weekend so it’s only natural that this Sunday will come and go without our tuning in to watch the...

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Fela! wins on Broadway

Bill T Jones’ “Fela!,” the musical interpretation of the life of the Afrobeat king, is up for 11 Tony Awards–the most of any show this year–including Best Musical.  I haven’t seen any of the other shows up...

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

America? Begging in Nigeria!

Courtesy of the folks over at This is Africa, I ran across this video of an (presumably) American woman begging in a market in Mushin in Lagos. If this is meant to be satire, it seems to...

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

William Kentridge talks Opera

The New York Times has a preview of William Kentridge‘s adaptation of a Shostakovich opera (based on a short story by Gogol), “The Nose,” which opens on Friday at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City.  (My...

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

EVERYBODY WANTS FELA TO SUCCEED (ON BROADWAY)

The New York mainstream press is all over Bill T Jones’ musical “Fela!,” which recently opened in the city.  Everybidy wants the show to succeed in a downmarket. “The New York Times” has done a few pieces–...

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

THE PROBLEM WITH OPERA

A South African production of the American opera, “Porgy and Bess,” is touring Britain (composer George Gershwin insisted on all black casts and they can’t assemble one in the UK) so the predictable moaning about whether black...

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

LONG LIVE ZAKES MOKAE, LONG LIVE

The versatile South African actor who starred on Broadway (he won a Tony Award in 1982 for his performance on Broadway in Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold and the Boys”) and in Hollywood films (he was brilliant in...

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

FELA KUTI IS COMING TO BROADWAY

“Fela!,” the Bill T. Jones musical about the life of the Nigerian Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is opening on Broadway on October 19. I had tickets during the show’s short Off-Broadway run last year, but on...