11 Minutes before assassination
“In every fight,” begins Mdu Nhlapo as he and Lulu Mlangeni don their military uniforms, “the one who is most willing to die is the one who is going to win.” It’s a hopeless, gritty ideology and it’s the perfect start to 11 minutes before assassination.
Devised and performed by Nhlapo and Mlangeni, 11 minutes before assassination details the suspenseful, complicated moments building up to the imminent assassination of the Aristocrat. Making use of militarised choreography – dramatic barrel rolls, hair-trigger twists and turns, and the kind of tight, refined synchronicity you’d need down in the trenches – Mlangeni and Nhlapo make use of every bit of the stage in a frantic, fervent performance.
As they move, a clock can be heard tick-tocking away in the background. This is to lend a sense of time – a countdown to an inevitable end – and to add a degree of tension to audience and performers alike. ‘What will happen when that clock stops ticking?’ we ask, despite already knowing the ending of the story.
In addition to their razor-sharp choreography, the two performers also have an undeniable sense of play throughout the piece – like two children crafting imaginary warscapes in the back garden – which, considering the contents of the work, can be a strange thing to witness. Although the strangest thing about 11 minutes before assassination has to be the fact that, throughout the cacophony of gunfire, screams, and explosions, it’s almost impossible to look away.
DEVISED BY | Lulu Mlangeni | Mdu Nhlapo
PERFORMED BY | Lulu Mlangeni | Mdu Nhlapo
SOUND DESIGN BY | Wilf Mahne
MUSIC | A Burning Escape by Justin Burnett & Ludvig Forssell
WRITER | Dave Mann
VIDEO ENGINEER & EDITOR | Noah Cohen
STILLS PHOTOGRAPHER | Nina Lieska