Press Red/Ouma

RED/OUMA (Sjaka S. Septembir) at the Out the Box festival in Cape Town

Returning from a thought-provoking run at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Red/Ouma is ready to take Cape Town audiences on an uncomfortable yet darkly comic odyssey through South African and Afrikaner identity.

The story:

In returning to his Ouma’s house, a man enters the world of red riding hood and the diamond wolf. What follows is the journey of a man dealing with the loss of his grandmother, who walks down his very own path as he sees it, to get emotions surfacing.

As the secrets of his past reveal themselves, this dark humoured story takes a sinister turn. Breaking down barriers and moving away from mainstream theatre mechanisms, Sjaka Semtembir set up structures that get one to look at the theatre venue with a new pouncing eye. He sets up and breaks them down and bashes them apart, with an intensity that gets strong reactions from audience members.

This interactive and disjointed story leads to a gut-wrenching conclusion.

Red/Ouma (Afrikaans)

Met sy terugkeer na sy Ouma se huis, betree ‘n jong man die wêreld van Rooikappie en die Diamandt Wolf. Dit lei hom op ′n pad waar hy gekonfronteer word met die verlies van sy ouma, en dit bring ‘n roesemoes van emosies na die oppervlak.

Soos die geheime van sy verlede hulself op die lappe bring, neem hierdie verhaal met sy galgehumor ‘n donker wending. Sjaka Septembir beweeg weg van hoofstroom teatergebruike en tegnieke, en breek hiermee deur die mure wat ons om ons oprig. In die plek hiervan laat hy fisieke strukture verrys wat die teaterganger die geleentheid bied om die teater en die self met vars oë te betrag. Soos die verhaal verloop, bou hy uit die niet die stel op en breek dit aan flarde, en ontlok in die proses sterk reaksies van die gehoor.

Hierdie interaktiewe, uit-lit-uit storie lei tot ‘n hartverskeurende gevolgtrekking.

 

 

OLDER PRESS RELEASES/RESPONSES

Ouma/Red at Musho 2011

OUMA has just completed an English run in Durban at the MUSHO festival.

“Breaking down barriers and moving away from mainstream theatre mechanisms, Sjaka Semtembir set up structures that got one looking at the theatre venue with a new pouncing eye. He set up and broke down and bashed them apart, with an intensity that got strong reactions from audience members.” - Shika Budhoo

“Sjaka Septembir’s work is brilliant, disturbed, anarchic, alienated – and sloppy. His piece Ouma will rise like the smell of something dead on the wind just when you thought the wind had changed and it will make you sniff and gag.”
-Gisele Turner

“I am in awe of Sjaka Septembir, and take my hat off to him – it must take guts to perform experimental theatre of the absurd kind, not knowing how your audience will react (and quite frankly, not caring!)”

Stavros Anthias

Ouma (Aan de Braak-teater)

Die toneelstuk Ouma is deur Sjaka S. Septembir gekonsepsualiseer rondom ’n gehekelde kombersie wat ’n ouma nagelaat het. Dis ’n interaktiewe ervaring: Septembir in Rooikappie-gewaad kom haal die gehoor in die foyer. Hy lyk hiper-aktief. Ons volg hom deur ’n nou gangetjie na die woud waar hy duidelik benoud is. Hy kom weer te voorskyn in die baadjie van ’n Engelse soldaat met ’n blou masker, die wolf.
’n Bebaarde jongeling in ’n Springboktrui lei ons na ouma se huis: met die trap af oor die sypaadjie en weer by die voordeur in. Hy maak later nog ’n kameeverskyning as Liewe Jesus wat rooibostee en koekies aandra.
Daarna behoort die sentrale ruimte aan die hoofkarakter se herinneringsreis na sy ouma se voorhuis. Dis aanvanklik onverbloemd nostalgies, ’n hunkering na eenvoudiger dae van onskuld, veiligheid, dragtige vrugtebome en ’n spens vol lekkernye.
Maar om die hoeke van die huis sluip die wolf rond en dinge raak toenemend sinistêr. Binne hang ’n galgtou met bloedspatsels op die vloer. Alles is nie pluis met ouma nie. Sy is ’n gebrilde masker wat Septembir in ’n gehekelde kombersie omhooghou en manipuleer. Sy dring daarop aan dat tee bedien word, maar wil weet: “Wat soek die hotnot in my voorhuis?” – met haar onverbiddelike gesig in die rigting van Nkosinathi Gaar, die regisseur, in die hoek. Sy beveel ook haar kleinseun om sy Rooikappie-mondering uit te trek: “Jy is te oud vir speel.”
Dis Afrika en die nostalgie vir eenvoudiger dae is verdag, besmet. Kindertydherinneringe is besoedel, gevoelens jeens gesagsfigure gekleur met haat. Rooikappie sing betekenisvol: “Koljander so deur die bos my ouma kook die heerlikste kos sy eet dit smaaklik op en los vir my die leë dop”.
Die erfgename pluk die verrotte vrugte en weet nie aldag of hulle rooikappie of wolf is, of hulle wil speel of vernietig nie.
Septembir met die weerloosheid agter sy stip staar gee roerend lyf aan hierdie skisofrenie. Hy vertel stories, voer mimiek uit, hanteer poppe, is fisiek freneties. Dis ’n ongemaklike reis met baie bagasie na ’n onherbergsame voorkamer. Dis ’n teaterervaring wat jou laat dink.
Deborah Steinmair
Tot 29 Augustus. Besprekings: 0082 335 3105.

OUMA

REVIEW ONE

production Name: Ouma

Production Date: 15 Jan 2011

Production Time: 6pm

Director: Nkhosinathi Gaar

Performer: Sjaka Septembir

Review by: Shika Budhoo, livewire

A daring piece. That screamed bold and bouyant from get-go. There was an introduction in the theatre lobby, and a procession (following the actor) around the Wilsons Wharf car park. As we followed ‘Red Riding hood’( and then an elected leader), back up to the theatre it got the audience’s hearts racing, as they danced, sang along and followed the path to the stage to ouma’s house.

What followed was the journey of a man dealing with the loss of his grandmother, he walked down his very own path as he saw it, to get emotions surfacing. His trip back to Ouma’s house cluttered with memories and up-and-down emotions, i think shocked the full auditorium at some parts.

Breaking down barriers and moving away from mainstream theatre mechanisms, Sjaka Semtembir set up structures that got one looking at the theatre venue with a new pouncing eye. He set up and broke down and bashed them apart, with an intensity that got strong reactions from audience members.

I know i enjoyed this show at many parts, but i shall spend more time over the next few days pondering over WHY i liked it. Maybe it’s his innovative choices of articles to represent other characters, maybe its the stark visuals he popped, or the garish calls of cue to the technical box…i will continue to ponder over why i liked it…as its THAT type of show. Makes you laugh, with a shock factor attached and makes you think!

 

REVIEW TWO
Production Name:      Ouma
Production Date:       15 Jan 2011
Production Time:        6pm
Director:                  Nkhosinathi Gaar
Performer:                Sjaka Septembir
Review by:               Gisele Turner, freelance writer

Oh these Cape Town boys! They got such guts, such courage, such balls! While we play so safely in the shallow waters they throw themselves off the towering cliff and smash themselves on the rocks below. It’s messy. It’s mad. It’s bloody uncomfortable. Quickly – pack all those leaking bleeding rotting guts back under the skin, spray air freshner to dispel the stench and for god’s sake let’s just forget we ever saw that piece of so-called theatre – ok?

Delve into the past and there are cookies and tea and blood and death all mixed up in the picnic basket.  Dead grannies lie stinking under a paper carpet in a paper house securely bolted, a bloody knife hangs from a noose, little boys are molested in the woods, the wolves are snarling out there and they are hungry.

Play the music! Dance a bit with me, Ouma. The ghosts still dance; la danse macabre. You think it easy to open up those kists and go through the stuff of a past you only realised you had once you were old enough to put it into the present?

Sjaka Septembir’s work is brilliant, disturbed, anarchic, alienated – and sloppy. His piece Ouma will rise like the smell of something dead on the wind just when you thought the wind had changed and it will make you sniff and gag. If he could just exercise a measure of control when he is most out of control…but no. This is what he does. As you chew on the piece of Marie biscuit he threw at you, you may even raise the spectre of a smile.

 

REVIEW THREE

Production Name:       Ouma
Production Date:        15 Jan 2011
Production Time:        6pm
Director:                   Nkhosinathi Gaar
Performer:                 Sjaka Septembir
Review by:                Stavros Anthias

I am in awe of Sjaka Septembir, and take my hat off to him – it must take guts to perform experimental theatre of the absurd kind, not knowing how your audience will react (and quite frankly, not caring!)

He began by inviting us on a tour of the car park, dressed up as Little red Riding-hood, as we made our way to Ouma’s house – this added a children’s flavour to the show, which heightened the contrasts and shocks that were to follow. Masks were used to good effect, as he utilized the entire Catalina Theatre, including climbing over the seats to get to members of the audience.
As he reminisces about his Ouma, the secrets begin to come out (“Ouma left me a  blanket, and it was filled with stories”) – some good, others not so, including an attempted molestation. He writes with a koki on large sheets of paper, as his tale progresses, and it develops a distinct Hannibal Lecter quality. He offers biscuits around, then flies into a rage, and a lot of the performance is quite manic. I found a lot of it bizarre, but I was as much engrossed, as I was repelled. There is much macabre humour – “my sister unscrewed the plug, and the electricity bit her!”
I missed out on some of the Afrikaans content, but it’s reasonably easy to follow. Politics are an underlying theme, throughout, and I felt he conveyed a collective sense of shame for the past, although there are some moments of awkwardness as he does this. He nostalgically recounts the Boere orkes in the farming community, and how entertaining it was. He gets the audience to help him huff and puff Ouma’s house down, revealing all its secrets, as he frantically digs around the rubble.
The show ends with Ouma’s house rocking as it has never done before… This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m certainly pleased I saw it –  exposing the public  to different genres of theatre can only be a positive thing.

 

REVIEW FOUR

Production Name:       Ouma
Production Date:        15 Jan 2011
Production Time:        6pm
Director:                   Nkhosinathi Gaar
Performer:                 Sjaka Septembir
Review by:                Eiry Myklebust, livewire

This is a very complex play, which goes from the sublime to the ridiculous and, at times, borders on insanity!  The actor is very energetic and enthusiastic throughout the performance giving his all.  The play tends to be quite disjointed and jumps back and forth from “Little Red Riding Hood” to the more serious apartheid era.  There is little or no humour, which makes it quite a “heavy” performance, also bearing in mind the story which it unfolds.

 

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