The soft, hazy presence of smoke characterises The Centre for the Less Good Idea’s Season 5 invited work, BAPA.
Under the guidance and direction of Season 5’s co-curator Phala O. Phala, and featuring the collective talents of various musicians and performers, BAPA is the original collaborative work of musical composer and producer Ntsika ‘Fana Mayiza’ Ngxanga, choreographer and producer Teresa Phuti Mojela, and writer and actor Billy Edward Langa.
Through the unique amalgamation of music, dance and theatrical performance, BAPA is as much a play as it is an hour-long existential enquiry into the meaning of existence. Although the work takes place on a single stage, these thematic explorations – dreaming, breathing, communicating, growing, travelling and more – take place across time and space.
In addition to its hefty narrative contents, BAPA is an extraordinary display of vocal and physical performance, as well as a lesson in how the two can build upon and inform one another. Short, sharp movements can be offset by long, languorous choral work to mystifying ends, while the restricted use of the body can be enriched and contextualised through a tight vocal sequence.
BAPA, through its multiple explorations of identity, ancestry, spirituality and more, is a welcome edition to Season 5’s 360 VR and 11-minute epic programmes, in which many of these themes are grappled with. Importantly, it also stands out as a brilliant and necessary bit of solo theatre.
DIRECTED BY | Phala O. Phala
WRITTEN BY | Billy Edward Langa
COMPOSED BY | Ntsika ‘Fana Mayiza’ Ngxanga
CHOREOGRAPHED BY | Teresa Phuti Mojela
PERFORMED BY | Teresa Phuti Mojela | Ntsika Ngxanga | Sboniso Mbhele | Mxolisi Madondo | Michael Manganye | Xolisile Bongwana | Isaac Mahlodi Rakotsoane | Mathews Rantsoma
WRITER | Dave Mann
VIDEO ENGINEER & EDITOR | Noah Cohen
STILLS PHOTOGRAPHER | Nina Lieska
PRODUCTION FOR THE CENTRE
Season 5 curators | Phala Ookeditse Phala & David Thatanelo April
Animateur | Bronwyn Lace
Director of Photography | Noah Cohen
Production Manager | Shruthi Nair
Stage Manager | Dimakatso Motholo
Interning Project Manager | Chelsea Selvan