In a country where sexual violence against girls has become a right of passage into womanhood, Lara Foot’s Karoo Moose has managed to illustrate devastating heartbreak through soul-warming, foot tapping, smile-inducing, laughter filled storytelling.
Internationally celebrated, multi-award-winning director, producer and CEO of the Baxter theatre, Lara Foot and her original cast of 2007 from the play Karoo Moose, which was originally written as a film entitled No Fathers, have succeeded in keeping the story, the magic and the visual magnificence relevant and fitting with the current times.
Palm tree branches lie motionless as a border between the audience and the stage. Enamel bowls and jugs, beer crates, empty black label bottles, a bottle of cream soda and a blanket scatter themselves between drums, plastic bags and water jugs. The skyline is a thorny cluster of camel thorns ( acacia) and miniature rural Xhosa houses.
The tale takes place in the Eastern Cape. An African story filled with colour and sound, texture and imagination. A South African story sprinkled with tiny political stabs and references to uncomfortable truths. A story overflowing with emotion, fear, bravery, fun, language and us. Mostly it is a story filled with us: beauty, magic, happiness and pain.
Zoleka Helesi, Chuma Sopotela, Mdu Kweyama (choreography), Mfundo Tshazibane, Thami Mbongo and Bongile Mantsai (music production) together form a powerhouse cast, each with his and her own accolades, awards and nominations. As a cast they rise and fall together, moulding the story, stroking and shattering the audience. The vocal and movement quality that they produce as a cast is mesmerising. There is a professional ease that they share with the audience as they step, swirl and sing in and out of characters such as schools girls, dogs, white-Afrikaans families, a Moose, gangsters and drunkards.
Multi-award winning set and lighting designer Patrick Curtis seems to have captured the recipe for lighting and celebrating black skins. Curtis keeps the lighting simple but effective by moving from cold to warm and allowing the dark skins on stage to work their liquid, molten magic. The set is carefully designed with great attention to detail, yet simplistic in its appearance too.
Koos Marais brings it all together with basic props that become brilliant main features and seemingly unimportant costumes that can change a man into a baby girl and a makhulu into a prostitute.
Karoo Moose is showing at the Baxter Golden Arrow theatre August 31st – September 24th.
To book call 021 685 7880 or visit www.baxter.co.za.