Everyone needs to see SwoopClifford Graham
Clifford Graham: Educational theatre of this nature serves a very real purpose.
On seeing Swoop at the Kalk Bay Theatre, I was reminded of the debate that raged around the siting of Durban’s new King Shaka International airport near Mount Moreland about 34 kilometres from Durban. Mount Moreland being one of the most famous nesting sites for the Barn Swallow. In season (October to mid-April) it is estimated that about three million of these birds arrive to nest in the area, having migrated from Europe. As I remember, many measures were taken to protect the birds from the impact of the airport development. To date the actual impact is still under assessment, but as an observer I’m not sure that all will be positive. Aircraft have a huge effect on wildlife and global climate change. Having spent the previous evening at a GIPCA symposium on the subject of art and climate change, I was particularly keen to see just what Imbewu and director Pieter Bosch Botha were bringing to the debate.
While it is aimed at children 6 to 16, this production should be seen by as many people as possible. Pieter Bosch Botha and his talented cast have brought more than just a delightful story to the stage. The educational value to our young people is invaluable. We are living in an age where global warming, climate change and conservation should be heading our political and social agendas. The impact of industrial and commercial development, be it airports, fracking or mining will be felt for hundreds, if not thousands of years to come. We need to get this message to as many young people as we possibly can.
Sam (Shaun Gabriel Smith), a young boy moves from his home in Cape Town with his mother. He finds himself living close to the new King Shaka Airport where his mother works. There he meets Jabu (Harrison Makubalo), who introduces Sam to the swallows and the challenges faced by them. It is a delightful tale. Young audiences are going to be intrigued by all they see. Well-designed puppets and shadow projections take us along on an adventure filled with wonder and amazement. The puppets (courtesy of The Space Behind The Couch - Beren Belknap, Merryn Carver and Jzadir Du Plessis) are a particular highlight. I saw children’s faces light up at their antics. A flock of swallows manipulated by Harrison Makubalo, Shaun Acker and Iman Isaacs (also playing various characters in the story) made for a magical moment. The shadow puppets, designed by Julia Anastopolous, tell a dark story of the impact of human expansion on the environment. Music, movement and dance add to the magic of Swoop.
Educational theatre of this nature serves a very real purpose, and Pieter Bosch Botha and his cast have created a very real theatre experience for our young audiences. It’s a short school holiday run at The Kalk Bay Theatre and hopefully it will not be used as just a drop off and pick up hour by parents. They need to see Swoop as much as their children do!
To add to the message that Swoop brings to our consciousness, I suggest a viewing of the film The Age of Stupid (Pete Postlethwaite). Download at http://www.spannerfilms.net
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Kalk Bay Theatre, Kalk Bay Cape Town Western Cape South Africa