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Woordfees receives financial injection

February 25, 2015 in Sonder kategorie

Stephanie Karikatuur

This year, the Stellenbosch University Woordfees (word festival) received a financial windfall through the WF20, an initiative of the chairman of the Woordfees advisory committee, Rudolf Gouws.

”Frankly, we shamelessly adopted the model used by the Clover Aardklop National Arts Festival, which for the past six years had been using ‘AK21’ to generate additional revenue for their festival,” Gouws said grinning widely. His wife and brother are both directors of Aardklop, and “we believe the country’s arts festivals need to work together and learn from each other, rather than compete against each other”.

The WF20 is a simple concept according to which art lovers each donate R20 000 to the Woordfees every year. The money is used to sponsor a particular production.

“Twenty people have already bought into the initiative. We started the project this year and hopefully more people will become involved in future,” said Gouws, who retired as chief economist of Rand Merchant Bank in 2009 and is associated with Stellenbosch University as professor extraordinary of economics.rudolf gouws small

Donors receive certain privileges that include being able to book tickets to shows one day ahead of the public; receiving invitations to the Woordfees programme launch; and having access to the hospitality suite at the Woordfees. Also included are special parking at the festival grounds; invitations to wine and music days; opportunities to meet the artists; and tickets to suites at the Spier Amphitheatre.

However, these privileges are not why people are prepared to become donors. “They do it to support the arts,” Gouws explained.

This year, the Woordfees is being presented for the sixteenth time; the reason for the ’16 ounces’ theme. Despite strong attendance figures that increase annually, this festival – like almost every other arts festival across the world – is continually seeking new sources of revenue. Modern patrons such as Gouws and other sponsors accordingly play an important role to lighten the financial burden on these festivals.

“That is not unusual. The arts have always had patrons, both male and female. Among those are the Catholic Church and the de’ Medici family of the Middle Ages,” Gouws said. “If we want to see theatre and other art, we need to dip into our pockets and produce.”

In the past, regional arts councils such as the Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB), the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT) and the Performing Arts Council of the Orange Free State (PACOFS), through their ballet, opera and theatre companies, provided artists with a fairly stable source of income. Some of these councils also commissioned new productions. However, since the regional councils dissolved in the 1990s, national arts festivals have become a lifeline to many artists.

With the dissolution of the arts councils, government funding dried up almost entirely, and although it has been difficult to access significant amounts from the National Lottery, somehow it was possible to maintain existing or newly formed opera and ballet companies, including symphony orchestras – mostly under severe financial pressure. Given the large number of new theatre and music productions it is evident that artists will not allow their voices to be silenced by financial constraints.

But should government not step in again to support the arts through structures such as the arts councils?

“As the need is equally pressing in many other areas, it would be difficult to convince government of this. Moreover, the capacity for corruption in state structures would seem to be too discouraging to explore this idea further. I believe it would be more advantageous if those who are able to do so, join forces and make things happen,” said Gouws.

He believes cooperation between the various arts festivals is important – not only because costs may be shared when presenting co‑productions – but also because expertise could be exchanged in the process.

“To this end, Marguerite Robinson who is programme consultant of Aardklop is one of the Woordfees adjudicators.”

In 2011, the SU Woordfees won a kykNET Fiestas award as the most popular arts festival in the country. The Fiestas recently announced that the Woordfees was again one of the best festivals in the country. The winner will be announced in March.

“We are fortunate in that geographically we are conveniently located, which gives us a slight edge over other arts festivals. People from Durbanville, Gordonsbaai, Somerset West, Paarl, Wellington, Cape Town, and even from the Cape West Coast are within easy drive of Stellenbosch to come and see our shows. Our so‑called swallows – foreigners who live here for the South African summer – are also keen festivalgoers. An added advantage is that people who visit the Woordfees have easy access to the ocean and mountains.”

Although Gouws’s love of the arts embraces all genres, he evidently prefers classical music.

Paging through the Woordfees programme, Gouws said: “Just have a look at the incredible classical music programme. Nina Schumann and Luis Magalhães, Roelof and Zorada Temmingh … to name but a few. No, it’s impossible to single out a performance. Everything here is wonderful. We are fortunate to have someone of Peter Martens’s stature in charge of things. As cellist and director of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, Martens has a packed programme and is on tour continually. In addition, he does exceptional work for the Woordfees.”

According to Gouws, his role as chairman of the Woordfees advisory committee is “to help open doors through my associations in the business world and to assist in coordinating a few things. However, Woordfees director of 2015, Saartjie Botha, and her team manage to do such incredible work that my role really pales next to theirs.”

Talle Woordfeeskaartjies al uitverkoop

February 25, 2015 in Sonder kategorie

Stephanie Karikatuur 2 vir web

 

As kaartjieverkope enige aanduiding is, gaan die US Woordfees, wat op die kampus van die Universiteit Stellenbosch en ‘n paar omliggende wynplase plaasvind, vanjaar ʼn groot treffer wees.

Meer as 45% meer kaartjies is reeds verkoop vergeleke met die ooreenstemmende tyd verlede jaar. En vergeet van kaartjies kry vir Nataniël se vertoning Die maak van ʼn jas. So ook die middagetegesprek met Pieter-Dirk Uys wat vanjaar sy 70ste verjaardag vier. Al die kaartjies is reeds uitverkoop.

Ook uitverkoop is die diskoers China in Afrika; die demonstrasie van Marlene van der Westhuizen – wat op die skrywersfees geheime van ʼn Franse kookklas deel; De Wet Potgieter wie se boek oor Al-Kaïda in SA opslae maak en die optrede van die US koor.

 

woordfees web2

Jy sal vinnig moet spring vir kaartjies vir die dramas Dogma, Die seemeeu, Vir ewig en altyd asook die vertoning Hart en see met die immergewilde Laurika Rauch en Elvis Blue, en die musiekvertoning Doep is nie dood nie. Die gesprek met die argitekspaar Gawie en Gwen Fagan is ook bykans uitverkoop. Daar is ook min plek oor vir Willem Anker se bespreking van sy boek, Buys; ʼn grensroman oor die omstrede Coenraad de Buys.

Soos gewoonlik sal daar ook by die feeskern ʼn paar heerlike kuier- en eetplekke wees. Vroeë opstaners kan al van 06:00 soggens by die Plataankafee regskuif om te kyk en te luister hoe die span van Monitor radio laat gebeur. Verskeie RSG programme word deur die dag regstreeks van hier af uitgesaai en daar is ʼn groot klem op die Woordfeesgebeure.

Terwyl jy luister, sal jy by die pop-up restaurant onder die plataanbome ook iets te drinke en te ete kry.

By De Vette Mossel kan jy ook tot laataand iets vir die hongerpyne kry terwyl jy na ʼn verskeidenheid musikante kyk. Piet Botha, Arnold Carstens, Koos Kombuis, Schalk Joubert, Jan Blohm en Gerald Clark is maar net ʼn paar van die kunstenaars wat daar optree. En met Storievuur word allerlei staaltjies om ʼn vuur vertel.

Vir meer inligting besoek die Woordfees se webblad by www.woordfees.co.za

Van Hemert bekoor deur uitdagende Strindberg

February 20, 2015 in Sonder kategorie

 

Stephanie Karikatuur

Die dramaturg en regisseur, Ilse van Hemert, bring na meer as ʼn dekade weg van die verhoog, vanjaar ʼn uitdagende stuk, August Strindberg se Skuldeiser, na die Woordfees toe. Stephanie Nieuwoudt het met haar gesels.

Die welslae van Skuldeiser word bepaal deur die akteurs se vertolking. Dit is ook die grootste uitdaging van hierdie stuk.

“Met ander toneelstukke kan jy speel met lig en klank en ontwerp. Skuldeiser vra nie vir musiek en al die ander dinge nie. Dit vra net vir briljante spel,” sê Van Hemert, wat die stuk ook uit Engels na Afrikaans vertaal het.

Skuldeiser is die verhaal van ʼn gelukkig getroude paartjie, die kunstenaar Adolf en sy vrou Tekla. Adolf ontvang besoek van Gustav, Tekla se voormalige minnaar wat hom sielkundig manipuleer. En wanneer Tekla op die toneel verskyn, probeer Gustav om haar weer voor sy sjarme te laat swig.

Anna-Mart van der Merwe is Tekla, André Odendaal is Gustav en Adolf word vertolk deur ʼn relatiewe nuweling Stiaan Smith.

“Om ervare mense te gebruik het uitdagings. Jy wil hul ervaring en die tegniek wat hulle na ʼn stuk toe bring, benut. Maar jy wil ook nie hê hulle moet terugval in vorige vertolkings wat gewerk het nie. Ek vereis dat die akteurs elke keer van nuuts af moet begin. Ek word as ʼn despoot-regisseur beskou omdat ek elke asemhaling, elke stilte wil orkestreer,” sê Van Hemert.

“Ek dwing spelers om elke keer terug te gaan na ʼn plek van eerlikheid. Akteurs kan in opstand kom hierteen want hulle voel naak. Anna-Mart gee haarself egter 100% aan die regisseur oor. Sy het die soort tegniek wat ʼn mens nie verniet kry nie. André het ook briljante tegniek. Ek is opgewonde om vir Stiaan, die nuwe akteur, aan gehore bekend te stel. Ek dink hy wou al weghardloop maar ek ketting hom aan die verhoog vas.”

Ilse van Hemert

Ilse van Hemert

Waarom wou sy juis met Skuldeiser terugkeer na die verhoog?

“Wanneer jy met die classics werk, weet jy dit het die toets van die tyd deurstaan. Dis nie ʼn groen teks waaraan jy moet werk en laat lyk asof dit ryp is nie. Strindberg was ver voor sy tyd. Hierdie stuk is meer as 120 jaar oud – dis in 1888 geskryf – maar Strindberg se idees was toe al modern. Die krisisse in hierdie toneelstuk is steeds relevant. Jaloesie is steeds jaloesie. Die vrou se behoefte om haar onafhanklikheid uit te leef, het nog nie verander nie. Die vraag oor wat man en vrou mekaar in die huwelik verskuldig is, is steeds relevant. Vertroue is ook steeds ʼn bitter moeilike onderwerp.”

Dis die eerste keer dat sy ʼn werk van Strindberg aanpak.

“Ek was nog altyd gefassineer met sy werk en sy ironiese kyk na die lewe. Ek was nuuskierig om ʼn drama van hom te ontgin. Skuldeiser is ʼn sielkundige riller en baie wonde word gepleeg. Die bloed gaan spat.”

As vertaler het sy verwysings wat tyd en plek gebonde is, verwyder en verander. Maar sy het Afrikaanse woorde wat dalk al in onbruik verval het, gebruik om sodoende ʼn ou, klassieke gevoel te behou.

“Dis interessant dat gehore moeiliker iets in hul eie taal vergewe. As karakters in ʼn toneelstuk in die moedertaal lelik praat, sal die gehoor makliker beswaar aanteken deur byvoorbeeld uit te stap as wanneer dit in ʼn ander taal gebeur.”

Van Hemert het 15 jaar gelede besluit om voltyds te begin werk – as vervaardiger van die TV-reeks Scandals.

“My seun Alexander was net agt maande oud en ek het met hom in ʼn wiegie onder die tafel regie gedoen. As enkelouer het ek ʼn materialistiese besluit geneem om nie meer teaterwerk te doen nie. ʼn Ander rede was dat ek aan ʼn diep uitputting gely het. Ek het aan vyf of ses stukke per jaar gewerk en het gevoel ek kan niks meer oorspronklik na die werk toe bring nie.”

In 15 jaar het sy wel twee teaterstukke tussen haar TV-werk ingepas.

“’Om TV-werk te doen is oneindig bevredigend. Ek werk met Scandals met die beste skrywers en spelers. Ek is trots op die produk wat 3 miljoen huise bereik. Natuurlik moet ʼn mens ook verantwoordelik wees. Jy moet mooi dink wanneer jy ʼn storie vertel oor byvoorbeeld lyfstraf en aborsie. Om my kykers se wêreld nog beter te verstaan, het ek Sotho en Zoeloe geleer praat.”

Het die TV-ervaring van haar ʼn beter regisseur gemaak?

“Ek weet nie of ek ʼn beter regisseur is nie. Ek het wel meer deernis en dankbaarheid.”