Jay Pather’s Qaphela Caesar, an interdisciplinary contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, is at Cape Town’s City Hall from 18 to 22 September.
Featuring Mwenya Kabwe, artists from Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, Jazzart Dance Company, UCT School of Dance and UCT Opera School, and presented by UCT’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA), Pather’s production places Shakespeare’s masterpiece firmly in modern-day South Africa.
Based in a world of power struggles and politics, Shakespeare’s classic text about honour, patriotism and friendship has been reworked by Pather to examine corruption and political power from a modern African perspective. Qaphela Caesar explores betrayal, prophesy, the power of political structures and the position of the individual within it. This deconstructed performance will take the audience on a journey through 14 rooms within the historic City Hall, alternating between installation and performing art and incorporating dance, spoken text, multimedia and opera.
Pather was awarded a Donald Gordon Creative Art Award in 2009 and initially created Qaphela Caesar with students from UCT Drama School. In this second iteration he has collaborated with a professional cast to create a rich and multi-layered work.
When asked “why Shakespeare?” Pather said “I felt that the epic quality of Caesar fitted with the politics of our time. But the production destabilizes even this idea, and is really a multidisciplinary massacre of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, that melds media to probe the intricacies and nuances of a post-colonial society.”
Pather, who was appointed as Chair of the National Arts Festival earlier this year, is an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town and Artistic Director of Siwela Sonke. He has been co-curator and selector for Spier Contemporary and his dance theatre productions have been performed around the globe.
Each of the five performances of Qaphela Caesar is limited to an audience of 50 people. Tickets are R65, available from Computicket www.computicket.com
For more details visit www.gipca.uct.ac.za, call Amy Jeptha on 078 406 0509 or e-mail email@example.com