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STER CITY by French director Jean-Paul Delore

An unusual multilingual and multimedia journey through South African history
19 - 22 September 2013
Market Theatre

Photos Sean Hart

This burlesque show, addressed to an audience of all ages, tells nothing less than the WHOLE history of South Africa – from the first Homo sapiens to the post-Mandela presidency period!

Written mainly during rehearsals, by confronting previous research works on the literary and geopolitical history of South Africa, with the strong personalities of the two Johannesburg-based polyglot artists (English / French / isiXhosa / isiZulu) who form a duo (think Laurel and Hardy), the archetype of the products of our mixed, if not mixing, modern French and South African societies.

She, Lindiwe Matshikiza, a young black actress, a rising figure of South African cinema and theatre, was born of parents who were artists and journalists, who fought against apartheid and who went into exile in Zambia and England. He, Nick Welch, a young white actor who raps in Zulu, comes from a Scottish family that came to Johannesburg a hundred years ago. What we need to understand here is how the real story of these two actors, their romantic genealogy full of drama and hope, “dresses” the many fictitious characters they incarnate in Ster City: prehistoric women, rugby players, giraffes, political icons, gold diggers, army men, Dutch settlers’ daughters, traditional chiefs, nouveaux riches, former settlers, etc...

Lindiwe and Nick are, in their own way, legitimate representations of the new underground and popular South African art scene. They give us their insolent, free and happy version of South African history under the ultra-contemporary influence of a country which, today, keeps playing with the landmarks and unclear boundaries between tradition and modernity.

In exploring South African history, Lindiwe and Nick incarnate brothers, sisters, lovers, humans, animals, confessions and anti-historical truths, anecdotes, war treaties, race treaties, masters, slaves etc.

In this unusual play, the director and actors revisit the aesthetics of chaos, hope, disaster and recovery peculiar to certain clown shows, and also make use of new technologies: portable video projectors, live webcams, close-ups on the actors and the public mixed with pictures from Internet archives, live sound and music, offbeat playbacks, manual subtitling(…).

This French – South African collaboration is part of the “Carnets Sud / Nord”, a musical and theatrical travelling laboratory which has toured since 2002 in Brazil, France, Central and Southern Africa.

Thursday 19 – Saturday 21 September at 20h15 and Sunday 22 September at 15h15
Market Theatre, 56 Margaret Mcingana Street, Newtown
Safe parking
Bookings at Computicket on www.computicket.co.za or 011 492 2033

Audiences from age 10 and up
Stage Direction: Jean-Paul Delore Art
Collaboration and texts: Isabelle Vellay
Texts: Jean-Paul Delore, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Nicholas Welch
Music: Dominique Lentin (percussions, objects, samplers)
Lights, Scenography: Patrick Puechavy / Guillaume Junot
Costumes, Make Up: Catherine Laval
Video, Photos, Scenography: Sean Hart
Projection, Scenography and General Production: Simon Junot
With: Lindiwe Matshikiza, Nicholas Welch, Dominique Lentin
Languages: English, French, Zulu, Afrikaans and Xhosa
Duration: 60 minutes

Ster City is presented at the Market Theatre by Company LZD – Lézard Dramatique and The Ster City Project with the support of the French Institute of South Africa.

A LZD Lézard Dramatique / TNP – Villeurbanne   Théâtre de Sartrouville et des Yvelines CDN / Studio-Théâtre de Vitry co-production, with an Arcadi restaging subsidy, and with the financial support of Le Tarmac – La Scène international francophone / l’IFAS. Company LZD – Lézard dramatique is supported by the DRAC Rhône-Alpes and the Région Rhône-Alpes.

Show created at the Studio-Théâtre de Vitry on 16 December 2011. Restaging of the show in an English version in July 2012 at the National National Art Festival, Grahamstown.


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Jean-Paul Delore
Stage director, author and actor under Bruno Boëglin, Yves Charreton and Robert Gironès as well as in his own shows, Jean-Paul Delore is the artistic director of Lyon-based company LZD Lézard Dramatique. He is the author of Départ (1982), Encore (1992), Dommages (1995), Suite (1997), Divagations régionales(1998), Absences de problèmes (2000), and has staged various works by E. Delore (Départ, Artic Bay, À L’Ouest), E. Joannes (La forêt des Zuckers), as well as M. Couto, M. Bey-Durif, E. Durif, H. Michaux, P. Minyana, N. de Pontcharra, J.-Y. Picq, R. M. Rilke, J.-M. Synge and S.L. Tansi. LZD was resident in Vaulx-en-Velin until 2002.

Moving across genres (at one stage his work led him to meet and create with unusual “groups”, e.g. sportsmen, youth with problems and high school goers), his approach progressively brought him to work with contemporary musicians and composers, resulting in the creation of an original style of music theatre, as with Les Hommes (1999) and Mélodies 6 (2001).

In 1996, he met Dieudonné Niangouna and, since then, they have been working together regularly. Since 2002, Jean-Paul has been directing the travelling theatre and music creation laboratory Carnets Sud/Nord, in Central and Southern Africa, Brazil and France. Since then, he has created and staged Affaires Etrangères, Songi Songi, Kukuga Système Mélancolique, Un Grand Silence Prochain, Peut-Être and Carnet 17 (The Recital), as well as many other shows in the large towns of the same regions and countries. In 2009, he created the Kukuga Système Mélancolique 10 Project (Saint Etienne/Johannesburg/Maputo/Paris), and later Parhasards.fr (Paris), the first online theatre experience ever produced. His next creations are Ster City in Johannesburg (November-December 2010) and Ilda & Nicole in Rio De Janeiro (April 2011). Jean-Paul Delore is an associate artist with the Théâtre Paris-

Lindiwe Matshikiza
She is an independent actor, writer and director working in theatre, film, and television, and based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
She began working in theatre as a performer, director and facilitator at AREPP: Theatre for Life, performing short plays and facilitating conversations with young people across South Africa. She has since performed in theatres throughout the country with plays such as The Famished Road, The Jungle Book, Closer and Bafana Republic, a one-woman show. As a theatre director, notable productions include Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman and Una Osato’s
Recess, a one-hander that premiered at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa (2007) and continues to run in New York City.

An active member of the South African theatrical community, she has been part of several artistic collectives, including The Framework, an improvisation-based theatre group inspired by the performance philosophy of The Factory UK; the FLARE Women Directors collective; and Causing a Scene, an improvisation ensemble that performs monthly in Johannesburg.

In recent years, Matshikiza has worked extensively in the film and television industry: As an actor in both local and international film and television; and as a director on the popular South African drama series Zone 14. She is currently developing and shooting a documentary, One Take Grace, the debut project of her collaborative arts-based project initiative, Donkey Child Projects.

Nick (Nicholas Richard Holmes Pule) Welch, alias Gwasa Juse, Pule
NRH Pule Welch: actor/clown, linguist, hip hop producer and rap artist from Yeoville, Johannesburg.Speaks Zulu, Sotho and English. Researches urban Zulu slang varieties in Soweto. Works as a multilingual education researcher at the University of Johannesburg.Studied Dramatic Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, majoring in Physical Theatre. Makes music with vinyl records and samplers. Clowns for money.

Pule is featured on the groundbreaking stand-up comedy DVD Strictly Vernac produced by MapDavis productions. He has performed around the country, in casinos and night clubs, opening for the likes of Judith Sephuma at jazz events in Boksurg, and entertaining the likes of Julius Malema at ANC Youth League events in Polokwane.

In 2008, Nick Welch appeared in the play Kukuga Ten System Melancholic by French director Jean-Paul Delore, as part of the Urban Scenographies international art exchange between South Africa, France, Mozambique and Brazil which was performed in the old Ster Cinema in Joubert Park, downtown Johannesburg. In 2008/9, along with Wesley Makgamatha he wrote, directed and performed in a play called Afrika: Mama Yo! - a comic satire about pitching to a panel of sponsors for a tender to produce a big budget musical for the 2010 World Cup. In 2008 he performed at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in Sky's The Limit, directed by Helen Iskander and Why We Left, directed by Megan Godsell, and co-wrote and performed in The Jellyfish Who Wanted to be a Bird but Didn't Really Know What A Bird Was, with Alex-Ann Keppie and Ilse Fourie. In 2007 he performed as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the National Arts Festival, directed by Megan Godsell.

As Gwaza Juse, he performs with the Meadowlands, Soweto-based hip-hop group Third Wave, who have independently released three records to date, the most recent of which being the Table Manners EP (see: www.3rdwavemusic.co.za for details). They have performed widely in the Gauteng and have had appearances on local television programmes like SABC1’s Ses’khona as well as international ones like Trace TVs Codes. Gwaza Juse raps in Zulu while the other four members rap in English. They are true-school boom bap outfit.

NRH Welch has studied as a postgraduate student at the University of the Witwatersrand and presented papers on the phonology of urban Zulu varieties. In 2011 he was awarded the Young Linguist of the Year award at the LSSA joint conference in Grahamstown. He works part-time at the Centre for Education Practice Research headed by Professor Elbie Henning, which is working out programmes for multilingual primary education.

Nicholas Welch went to Parktown Boys High School where he was a member of the Zulu Traditional Dance troupe, Amabhubesi Ase-Parktown and was awarded a trophy for Best Traditional Dancer in Eastern Gauteng.

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