Puppet Park

‘Puppet Park’ is a newly written educational & musical production touching sensitive subjects regarding racism, homosexuality, family issues, abuse and bullying etc. Newly written songs will be added to assist with the message from stage. A message of love and acceptance. From the creative pen of Xander Steyn who has a list of productions that he has written, directed and choreographed – www.xanderartproductions.co.za – this is a production is a must see for every school and child in South Africa.

In a very hot country a man lived with his wife and son, Slindelo, in a little hut, which was surrounded by grass and flowers. They were all perfectly happy till Slindelo stopped helping around the hut and started playing dirty tricks on everyone.

  • It is low cost: there is no set, no costumes, no lighting and no sound equipment. The performances can take place in any simple performance space, without having rehearsed in that space.
  • Props are provided by the audience who are asked to bring things to give to the performers. These are supplied to the actor at the moment of necessity at the beginning of the act or scene – whatever they may be: a blow-up dolphin, an Alice-band, a lap-top, a sock etc.
  • Each actor has prepared two or more roles. Which of the two (or more) he or she will perform on the night is decided by a game of chance five minutes before the show.
  • A multi-venue production style that revisits classic and other texts, in which the performance is informed by the venue, audience engagement and the performers themselves. No two shows are alike.
  • The productions use adapted text, which is contextualised during performance. This makes it entirely of the moment. Its spontaneity allows each performance to be uniquely relevant for each audience and venue.

Every year a stork migrates from the lush Dutch landscape to the deep warm South of Africa. He knows lots of stories. One of which is the true story about Nongqawuse, a 15 year old Xhosa girl that radically changed the history of the Xhosa people. One day Nongqawuse comes back from the river. She tells that the ancestors appeared to her with the prophecy that the dead will arise, the white people and unbelievers will be driven into the sea and the once powerful Xhosa people will be as strong as before. To make this happen they have to kill all their cattle and burn all their grain. This prophecy brings hope to the people. They are tormented by colonial wars and mysterious cattle diseases. But it also brings discord among the Xhosa people, manipulation and betrayal and in the end a terrible famine. Everyone points at Nongqawuse. But was she really the cause of the disaster that ensued? Maybe this mystery can never be unravelled. Everyone has his interpretation of the facts. Will a bird with homes in both hemispheres ever be able to understand?

Red Earth is a co-production with Speeltheater Holland and premiered in Grahamstown 2006 and was later performed in the Netherlands more than 200 times. In 2013 Red Earth will be on tour in South Africa.

Theatre 4 Youth