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SEASON 7 at the Centre for the Less Good Idea is now streaming online

September 21, 2021

The Centre for the Less Good Idea is thrilled to invite national and international audiences to join them online for the live streams of selected programmes throughout Season 7 at the Centre for the Less Good Idea.

Season 7 is co-curated by the founder of The Centre for the Less Good Idea, William Kentridge and Animateur for The Centre, Phala Ookeditse Phala. It grapples with the primary provocation of performing text. What are the ways of transforming a text designed to be read, into a performance on stage? Is it necessary to make this change (of text to performance)? Is there anything to be gained in this process?

“These are not questions we asked ourselves,” explains Kentridge. “Rather we said: ‘Let this be a provocation, let us see what emerges’. The many performances, films and installations of Season 7 are the result.”

Many of the participants in Season 7 (about 40) engaged with the provocation and have produced pieces based on texts by writers such as:

  • Joseph Conrad
  • Ben Okri
  • Vladimir Mayakovsky
  • Antjie Krog
  • Ferdinand Oyono
  • Franz Kafka
  • Sol T. Plaatje

Books, poems, court transcripts, Wikipedia entries, songs, commission reports and more serve as points of departure for Season 7 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea.

This is the first Season without Bronwyn Lace as the head of Animateur. Lace remains in close contact with the Centre and her role is now taken up by Phala Ookeditse Phala. During her time in Johannesburg at the Centre, Bronwyn separated her personal artwork from the projects at the Centre. We are delighted in this season to welcome her as a participant, with contributions to the Pepper’s Ghost and an installation of her own work in the Centre’s original performance space. The Centre will share these moments via INSTALIVE in the course of the week. 

Season 7 | Live Streamed programmes

Houseboy | 25 September at 3:30 pm | VIEWING LINK

Over the course of a 120-minute durational performance, founder of The Centre for the Less Good Idea and co-curator of its 7th Season, William Kentridge presents a staged interpretation of the Cameroonian novel Houseboy. Through the work of an ensemble cast comprising the various characters, the 1956 Ferdinand Oyono novel, Houseboy, explores themes of colonialism, trauma and narrative history.

The Centre for the Less Good Idea
Image by Zivanai Matangi

Programme 3B | 25 September at 7:30pm | VIEWING LINK

Opening programme 2 is Panther, which makes use of the Vimba stage with: 

  • Live projection
  • Recital
  • Music
  • Physical theatre 

To present a performed version on the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem reflecting on a captured panther behind bars. This segues into A Hunger Artist. It is a performance that takes its lead from Franz Kafka’s short story by the same name and employs live recital, performance and music. Zondo Requiem uses Mozart’s tuba mirum requiem as well as South Africa’s Zondo Commission of Inquiry as textual bases in live performance. 

Closing the programme is Sounds of Limpopo. A two-person musical performance that pays tribute to the myriad sounds and narratives of South Africa’s northernmost province.

Programme 1B | 26 September at 2 pm | VIEWING LINK

Programme 1B at the Event Space opens with the use of sound, rhythm and the inherent language of the body. It tells a tale of land, governance, and power in the 8-minute performance of Footnotes. 

Following this is Tea & Bae employing intimate choreography to explore storytelling as a form of bonding. In A Common Confusion, a Kafka-esque trio attempts to puzzle out the life and writing of Franz Kafka, while The Dress puts forward a one-man performance that draws on a reimagining of Can Themba’s The Suit, from the perspective of the wife. 

Sorry/Askies! presents the innumerable forms and functions of a word we too often employ in our daily lives. The Pigeon sees alienation, self-loathing, dour existentialism and an encroaching sense of dread flocking together in the programme’s closing performance.

Programme 2B | 26 September at 3:15 pm | VIEWING LINK

Programme 2B opens with And Yet You Go On, a homage to the prose works of Samuel Beckett, illuminating humour, humanity and pessimism. This is followed by Queeny and Johnny which revisits the relationship between the two characters from Athol Fugard’s stage classic Nongogo. An adaptation of George C. Wolfe’s ‘Git on Board’ sketch from his 1986 play The Colored Museum, Go Down Moses merges global history with South African musicality and frames of reference. 

Matswakabele employs song and intimate storytelling to explore the complicated nature of reckoning with the past, while Umthandazo employs an all-women cast to unpack the lives of the widows, children and mothers of the Marikana victims. Vivid physicality, animality and the pursuit of companionship converge in the closing performance, Bogologolo Tala.

The Centre for the Less Good Idea
A Hunger Artist. Part of Programme 3B
Image by Zivanai Matangi

Milk & Honey Revisited | 26 September at 4:30 pm | VIEWING LINK

Staged as a For Once performance at The Centre for the Less Good Idea in late 2019, Milk & Honey Revisited is a Season 7 invited work. Through expanding on the closing solo performance of the original 2013 performance of Milk & Honey, the Khayelihle Dom Gumede-directed Milk & Honey Revisited merges physical and musical performance with the spoken word in order to further explore land and identity in contemporary South Africa.

* If you are not able to join us for the live streams, the performance archive will remain available on the Centre for the Less Good Idea’s YouTube channel.

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