Connecting through chaos in Machitún

Author(s): Siobhan Rosenfels (Cue Online, 2011)

Haunting electric piano chords, intermingled with the earthy beat of African drums, echo through the passages of the Rhodes University Drama Department, where an eclectic group of South African and Argentinian actors, musicians, stilt walkers and acrobats of all ages rehearse for the epic outdoor production, Machitún.

Nikki Froneman, director of the artistic exchange programme Proyecto 34°S, is the mastermind behind this collaboration. Froneman approached Argentinean director Javier Drucaroff with the idea of a collaboration between the Sakhuluntu Cultural Group, Art Factory, Oddbody Theatre Collaborative and the Makana Arts Festival Forum.

Working with such a vast range of actors has proved to be a roller coaster ride for Froneman. “It’s really hectic, and it’s really frantic, and it’s really scary,” she said. “But the magic that happens out of that is really spectacular.” The blending of all of these characters and elements is something that Drucaroff is passionate about. “I love to mix everything,” he said, explaining that for this kind of collaborative production to work, one needs to find some commonality. “Finding the point in the company when everyone connects with something else - I don’t know, a soul or a spirit or art or whatever. When everybody works with that, it works perfectly.” His vision for the production was to fuse various elements, such as lighting, sound, acting, singing and dancing to create “something completely new”. Aerial acrobats, stilt walkers, drummers and a children’s choir are supported by the musical genius of renowned contemporary progressive electronic composer and performer, Ernesto Romeo. The combination, providing the weather cooperates, promises to be a stunning experience.

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