Applauz Arts Initiative and the Artscape Theatre Celebrates Adam Small – A Festival of his Work!
In tribute of poet-playwright Adam Small, the Applauz Arts Initiative and the Artscape Theatre recently hosted a two-week festival of theatre performances for the Cape Town community – titled ‘Celebrating the Man – extracts from his plays and poetry’ and ‘Adam Small Bejazzed’. The performances consisted of extracts from selected poems and plays that were recreated into renditions of drama and music, directed by Natalia Da Rocha and musically composed by Camillo Lombard, Kurt Egelhof and Dillon April.
Some of Adam Small’s works from the festival included his plays Joanie Galant-hulle and Kanna- He is Coming Home as well as key poems such as Via Dolorosa, Die Here het gaskommel, Wie’s hy and Brown Lullaby. (starring Siphokazi Jonas, Lauren Hannie, Natalia Da Rocha and students from the Cape Music Institute run by Camillo Lombard). The festival successfully attracted huge crowds in Cape Town, particularly Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille and the Small family who all suited-up on opening night to pay tribute to the great honorary poet of the evening!
Not only was Adam Small present on show night, but he also provided the cast with constructive direction during rehearsals. “Our performances felt like a love offering, a showcase of our gratitude to Adam Small,” says Siphokazi Jonas, whose tribute-poem to the honourary poet was featured in ‘Adam Small BeJazzed’. “Creating and performing the tribute-poem was a special challenge. I was already in such awe of the man’s poetry. So using the same medium to commemorate him was incredibly daunting, since he has been doing this for much longer than I am alive. But then two fellow cast members reminded me that this was also our voice, our response to his work.”
Siphokazi further explains that even though she is from a different ethnic community than the characters in the plays, she still had an affinity to his writing. “His work speaks to me because of his incredible sensitivity to the lives of his characters,” she says. “I also read that when he was involved in the ‘Black Consciousness’ movement, he never labelled himself a ‘coloured writer’ but a black writer who wrote in Afrikaans. From then on I felt like I had a clear place in this process as the tribute-poem was created.”
The Adam Small festival truly proved to be a booming success, leaving the Cape Town crowd in a state of reflection and celebration as Adam Small ended the evening proclaiming: “It’s possible for me to die happy.”
***Are you a student of Adam Small’s work? The Applauz Arts Initiative invites you to contact them if you wish to have them perform at your school or university! If you’re interested, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
L-R: Maxin Ceasar, Antholeen Petersen and Gheta Bailey
Siphokazi Jonas performing her tribute-poem to Adam Small
at Adam Small Bejazzed
L-R: Dillon April and Keanu Harker from the Cape Music Institute
L-R: Lauren Hannie and Natalia Da Rocha
Lauren Hannie as Makiet, Ryno Mouton as Diekie and Antholeen Petersen as Kietie
in Kanna- He is Coming Home