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Theatre

2018 Fugard Bioscope World Arts Cinema Season

Breathtaking new productions from around the world …
From 4 February 2018

For the seventh consecutive year the Fugard Theatre Bioscope is bringing audiences the very best in recorded live screenings featuring the finest productions in theatre, opera and ballet, from the world’s most famous stages.

The exciting 2018 programme combines screenings of classic dramas such as the National Theatre’s Julius Caesar and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with newer plays such as Young Marx, a comedy from the creative team behind One Man, Two Guvnors. There’s also the ‘shatteringly powerful’ Yerma and Yaël Farber’s hypnotic, visually compelling interpretation of Salomé. Ballet lovers are spoilt for choice with offerings from the Bolshoi Ballet including Romeo and Juliet, Giselle and The Flames of Paris as well as the Royal Ballet productions of A Winter’s Tale, Manon and their Bernstein Centenary.

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online

Burn-out On Binge-Watching? There’s A Show For That

Are you looking for a one-night stand rather than eight-year relationship in your next TV series? If so, look no further than Room 104, now streaming first and only on Showmax.

Clocking in at just 24 minutes per episode, this twelve-part anthology series tells tales of the characters who pass through a single room of a typical American chain motel. The genre, the characters and even the era change each episode – perfect for anyone burnt-out on bingeing after watching all seven seasons of Game of Thrones back-to-back (again) at Christmas.

From the worst babysitting job ever, to a pizza delivery guy caught up in a couple’s twisted games, to a cult priest offering transcendence, to an octogenarian couple returning to Room 104 to relive their first night together – the only thing each episode has in common is its setting and its creators: brothers Jay and Mark Duplass.

The Duplass Brothers  have been hailed as ‘Hollywood’s most low-key power players’ by Rolling Stone; ‘an unlikely Hollywood juggernaut’ by Wired; pioneers of the ‘lo-fi mumblecore movement’ by The Guardian; and ‘indie film darlings’ by Time Out New York.

Their directing credits include the Critics Choice-nominated HBO series Togetherness; the SXSW Audience Award-winning feature The Puffy Chair; and the Berlin-winning short film The Intervention. More recently, the brothers have been just as successful in front of the camera, with Jay nominated for a Critics Choice award for his role as Josh Pfefferman in Transparent and Mark starring in award-winning films like Safety Not Guaranteed; Creep and The One I Love.

“Jay and Mark Duplass are gifted storytellers who have brilliantly reinvented the anthology series for the modern era,” says Amy Gravitt, executive vice president, HBO Programming, announcing that Room 104 has been renewed for a second season. “The format of Room 104 offers endless possibilities and opportunities for new talent to experiment, and I look forward to seeing where the series takes us.”

“We can’t remember the last time we had so much fun making something,” says Jay Duplass. “We’re excited to go even further down the rabbit hole with this show.”

Look out for Golden Globe nominee Sarah Hay (Flesh and Bone) as well as the likes of Mae Whitman (Parenthood), James van der Beek (Dawson’s Creek), Dendrie Taylor (American Vandal), Amy Landecker (Transparent),  Keir Gilchrist (Atypical) and, of course, Jay Duplass himself.

Categories
Television

Nordic Noir Comes To Showmax

Seven years ago, her daughter disappeared. Now detective Eva Thörnblad (Moa Gammel) has returned home after her father’s suicide to discover that more children are vanishing – in the same forest.

Jordskott was the highest rated drama of the year on both SVT in Sweden and ITV Encore in the UK, winning the Kristallen award for Best TV Drama in Sweden, as well as the BANFF Rockie Award for Best Serial in Canada. It was also nominated at Camerimage for Best Pilot and was quickly renewed for a second season.

”Despite having next to no violent crime compared to South Africa, the Nordic countries have consistently told some of the best crime stories of the last decade, from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (also on Showmax) to The Killing and The Bridge,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content: Africa at Showmax. “We’re delighted to introduce South African streaming audiences to the genre and confident that local audiences will relate to the show’s themes of corporate greed, environmentalism and the question of how far you’re prepared to go to protect those you love.”

Why is Nordic noir so popular internationally? According to Moa, it’s because “Scandinavian dramas have this realness to them. They’re about everyday life and relationships and psychology. They’re not like ‘Who is the killer?’ but more like ‘Why is that person a killer?’ If you combine that type of storytelling with the crime fiction that’s somewhat larger than life – murderers and dead bodies and grim storylines – you get a new, fresh mix. That’s what appeals to audience who maybe have seen glossier crime dramas about mobsters or whatever from the US.”

She also suggests that Nordic noir is less obvious than American crime shows. “Audiences themselves are getting to solve the puzzle. Maybe in some American storytelling, they say the subtext but Scandinavian dramas rely on the idea that audiences will see the subtext for themselves. You don’t always have to have someone say ‘I love you’ or ‘I hate you’. You can portray it instead and that makes it more compelling and interesting to watch. Audiences are so smart and they’re used to watching movies and series. They’re used to how stories are portrayed and sometimes they’re one step ahead, so you need to rely on their intelligence.”

She also says part of the appeal is because Nordic noir is known for its strong, complex female characters. “And they’re over 30 or 40,” she says – pointing out that Nordic noir paved the way for female-driven shows like Homeland and An Honourable Woman – and more recently Big Little Lies. “They also feature complex characters over 30 who have something different to them. It feels like people are looking to the Scandinavian countries and seeing the female characters on our shows. It’s amazing that we can inspire them to see, ‘We can do a series with a female lead and people will watch it.’ They’ve maybe been afraid before, like ‘No-one’s going to watch a show or a movie with a female lead because they’re not interested in that’ but they are and we’ve shown that they are.”

Unsurprisingly, Moa says she has no desire to move to Hollywood to further her career. “I’ve met with some American agents and they’re like ‘Maybe you should whiten your teeth…’ I’m not interested in playing a sexy Russian nanny. I’m too old for that anyway.”

Moa has been amazed at the global response to Jordskott. “We’re trying to portray the folk tale soul of Sweden; all of our natural myths and fairy tales that have been told from mouth to mouth. It’s part of our natural soul in a way and it’s amazing that people respond to it abroad. It’s like the local is global. The more local you dare to be, the more of a global allure it is, because it’s something different.”

Categories
Theatre

Dandelions And Stones – On At Alexander Bar

Many people don’t know what to say about death, but what if Death had something to say about us?

This was the question that Jessica McCarthy and local drag sensation Lady Aria Grey asked each other as they sat down to write a script together… and what came out was Dandelions and Stones, a play about death and therapy… and Death going to therapy…. with a healthy dose of drag deliciousness thrown in for good measure, of course.

In Dandelions and Stones the embodiment of Death, collector of souls (who also happens to be a fabulous drag queen) decides to go to therapy to work through her feelings surrounding her job, her relationship with humankind, and her sense of self-worth. Through the conversations between Death and her therapist, the audience are invited to explore the connections between life, death, and time, as well as see mortality from a completely different angle… that of Death herself.

The play is to a large extent the brainchild of actress and writer Jessica McCarthy. It was born out of a combination of her fascination with the drag art form, an existential longing to connect with other humans about the difficult subject of our mortality, and a dark and silly sense of humour. Jessica had been threatening to write a play since she was about 12, and had been in love with drag queens since she was about 10, so Dandelions and Stones has been a long time coming!

Jessica was always a helping hand in the wings when Callum Tilbury was creating his drag character of Lady Aria Grey. With their history and Callum’s knowledge of the drag art form, his broad experience writing plays, and of course his sense of humour, Lady Aria Grey was Jessica’s obvious choice of collaborator in developing the script.

Dandelions and Stones is directed by Beren Belknap, the former creative director of acclaimed theatre company The Space Behind The Couch. Beren’s experience with puppetry, visual theatre, and comedy made him the perfect addition to the Little Kitten production team. The play stars highly acclaimed actor Claire Watling as the therapist, and Jessica herself, debuting her new drag character Lady Anjelica MacDeath. Not only does Lady Anjelica wow us with her fabulous costumes and insights about death, she even performs a new musical number by the cabaret superstar Godfrey Johnson.

Dandelions and Stones will be on at Alexander Bar from the 29th of Jan to the 3rd of Feb at 7pm, with additional 4pm matinees on the 3rd and 4th of Feb. Bookings are now open and there is a discount if you book online!

alexanderbar.co.za/show/Dandelions_and_Stones

Categories
Festival

Khalo Matabane’s “The Number” Heads To The Pan African Film Festival In LA

THE NUMBER, directed by Khalo Matabane, will have its United States premiere at the prestigious Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles on Saturday, 10 February.  Established over 25 years ago, PAFF is dedicated to the promotion of cultural understanding among peoples of African descent.

Khalo Matabane said, “The selection of THE NUMBER by the Pan African Film Festival is recognition of the importance and relevance of our South African story to people of African descent and the African diaspora at large. We look forward to sharing this unique story at PAFF.”

THE NUMBER is the extraordinary tale of the nigh-impossible redemption of high-ranking Magadien, a Magistrate of the 28’s, one of the notorious Numbers prison gangs.  It charts his journey as a man who finds his humanity –  from being a hardened prisoner, loyal to his gang, to him turning his back on them and the criminal way of life; to choosing his family and building a relationship with his son.

THE NUMBER received acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival where it had its World Premiere in September last year.

The film has been licensed to the United States, Japan and other territories, and it will be presented to buyers at the Berlin International Film Festival next month,

THE NUMBER will be released in South Africa later this year by Videovision Entertainment through United International Pictures (South Africa).