Together they worked out a performance for KINA-Festival which was called ‘Transform’.
Out of the dried earth and dust, life remains hidden until the rains come. And when they do, the earth transforms into clay and the clay transforms the lives of three friends!
The three performers invited us to explore this material that keeps on changing.
You generally don't work together on projects. How did the three of you get together?
We met in Cape Town, South Africa where we had each been invited to participate in a six-week Incubator. We spent that time together learning the Magnet Theatre’s methodology for creating and performing theatre for very young audiences, assisted also by Germany’s Helios Theatre. At the end of that Incubator period, we had created a play together, and we performed it at the Early Years Theatre festival.
What makes your cooperation so special?
Our collaboration feels special for several reasons. First, we did not know each other at all when we started our collaboration; we had to learn each other and let down our guard quite quickly. Also, the Mozambicans were not fully fluent in English, and the Botswana was not conversant in Portuguese, so our communication was often stunted in the first week or two. We learned to overcome the barrier in order to get the work done. Lastly, neither of us had previously worked with anyone from our respective countries, but our play ended up with flavours from both.
What makes it so exciting for you to play for children?
We realized that the Early Years work required a great deal more of us than if we were performing for adults. Our young audiences are always fully engrossed in the play, and their reactions are immediate and unfiltered, so we always have to be present as well. While adults can register all kinds of feelings toward a performance while they watch it, they have learned to filter their reactions and control them. Children, on the other hand, show wonder and fear and delight immediately, which makes it more rewarding to perform live for them.
What makes a play so exciting for children?
Children enjoy our play, but we can’t yet be sure why. Our suspicion is that perhaps they still know the joy of play and they want to play with us on stage; perhaps they like the sound of singing and water and clay as it falls to the ground. Perhaps they are delighted by our moving, jumping, running, dancing, still figures. Or perhaps they simply enjoy creative output like any other human being.
Do you still have stage fright before your performances?
Even now, we experience stage fright. We know that using the wrong tone of voice at the wrong time might scare a child; perhaps a threatening movement that we are not aware we have made might disengage another child. We worry that we might not perform our best for our audience who might be on the edges of their seats just waiting for us to start. And of course, theatre is our craft and passion, and our respect for it means we can never arrive at a point where we are complacent.
What do you normally do after a performance to switch off?
Amade likes to talk with audience members and their parents, Yuck likes to reflect on moments where he felt most connected both to his co-performers and to the audience, and Jessica likes to conclude the work by packing up the set. After that, we like to have a big, filling meal full of flavour and colour.