Over the course of December we'll be sharing excerpts and links to Season 4's performances which took place in October.
Curated by writer, academic, and playwright Jane Taylor, Season 4 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea takes the shape of a Collapsed Conference – a series of talks, presentations and ideas all told through performance.
SURPLUS | VARIOUS SEASON 4 ARTISTS
An overflow of experiences and ideas, a collection of musical, physical fragments, or a space for the ideas that couldn’t quite find a home. Season 4’s performance of the Surplus is one of the perfect opportunities to get to grips with the kind of work produced at The Centre for the Less Good Idea.
Over the course of The Centre’s 4th Season workshops – five days of intensive exploration, play, and free-flowing improvisation – a number of works began to take shape. But what happens to the elements of a performance that don’t quite fit in and are left unfinished, unformed? Rather than let them remain on the workshop floor, Season 4’s performers devised the Surplus.
In the Surplus, many of the performers are exploring elements that are either overlooked or entirely foreign to their practice. Pianist Jill Richards, a master of Western, classical interpretation, applies her talents to sampled field recordings (some of which were made at The Centre) which she uses as the basis for her improvisation.
Actors and theatre-makers Tony Miyambo, Billy Langa, and Mahlatsi Makgonyana dial down their physicality and employ their voices as primary tools of performance, while physical theatre practitioners Thulani Chauke and Themba Mbuli mirror each other’s every move through a compelling piece accompanied by the sounds of Richards and Kyle Shepherd on a single piano. At one brilliantly precarious point, dancer and choreographer Jessica Nupen takes up the practice of Dervish twirling, her skirt replete with long, sharp knives that begin to grow longer and faster as she moves. The resultant dance is at once terrifying and mystifying.
Closing the Surplus is an act that is perhaps one of the best representations of The Centre’s process. Richards and Shepherd, each on a single piano, begin to play. Soon, Miyambo, Chauke, Mbuli, Langa, and Mokgonyana begin to move the pianos around the stage as they are being played. The two pianists do not resist and only continue to play, before their sounds, their ideas, their pianos themselves begin to clash and meld into each other.
It is a similar trajectory that can be traced when an artist arrives at The Centre with an idea. They begin to do what they know, before combining what they know with the talents of another. There is excitement and endless possibility, and then there is the problem-solving and the process of letting go before ideas and mediums begin to merge and take shape, magnificently.
For the full version go to | https://vimeo.com/303054732
Performers | Jill Richards, Kyle Shepherd, Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, Billy Langa, Tony Miyambo, Thulani Chauke, Themba Mbuli, Jessica Nupen
Animateur for The Centre | Bronwyn Lace
Cinematography and Editor | Noah Cohen
Project Manager | Shruthi Nair
Lights | Wesley France and Guy Nelson
Sound | SoulFire Studios and Zain Vally
Stage Management | Hayleigh Evans and PopArt Productions
Writer | Dave Mann