By: Jean-Paul Delore
With: Dominique Lentin, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Nick Welsh
During a burlesque conference, two exceptional South African actors share events of their own stories and ardent bits of the history of South Africa, from the prehistoric to date and with some dreams too …
STER CITY is a huge, old, abandoned movie theater in the center of Johannesburg. This luxurious multiplex which in the 70s and 80s, was whites only is now closed and devastated but all around, life bustles with movement, trade, traffic … Thousands of men, women and children from across the African continent and the surrounding areas are settling-in or passing through this part of the city.
It is a lively port without an ocean.
For ten years we have been staging all our shows in major cities worldwide. We decided to call these ‘mobile homes’ the SOUTH/NORTH DIARIES (LES CARNETS SUD/NORD). When I met Nick Welsh and Lindiwe Mitshikiza, the two South African actors of the show, I felt that we had found a few principles that shape these diaries in which the traveling artists move guided by their common love for abstraction of certain literary and musical forms either written, oral or improvised by applying their curiosity for image processing (photo, video, web) or by their almost organic relationship with the visual arts (human body / living matter). We must also add to these the desperate discerning and ironic view that the artists of the diaries possess of their respective situations as foreigners and their shared desire to speak directly to the audience and the insider as one who sometimes has to be looked for where least expected.
Since the beginning of the SOUTH/NORTH Diaries adventure, there has been an attempt to describe the individual child, woman or man as a hero of the civilization of the disaster. They have also been described as sensual and victims of the chaos. In STER CITY, the highlights of South African history, from prehistory to the present day told to an audience aged ten+ makes up most of the framework of the story. It should be added that this false historical conference is acted by two young brilliant improvising and unconventional actors; they share their own stories and ardent fragments of South African history; they are straight-necked towards the future, hence emblematic of South African modernity.