Dance-Theatre Performance

A dedicated South African artist, Robyn Orlin has transformed choreography and performance art in her country, revealing and stigmatising its contradictory reality. Her provocative themes and her stage – a place where the universes of whites and blacks, with their respective stereotypes, often collide – have become famous all over the world. Orlin’s unique titles, such as: If you can’t change the world change your curtains (1990); The explosion of stars is not only reserved for ticket holders (1994); Daddy, I’ve seen this piece six times and still don’t know why they are hurting each other (1999); The future may be bright, but it’s not necessarily orange!!! (2001)... are also very evocative.

We must eat our suckers with the wrappers on... (2001) – which borrows its title from a saying popular in the townships of Johannesburg – is a work rich with ‘sexually transmissible’ allusions. It is a requiem for Aids, an act of mourning and a celebration, which also allows us sympathy but keeps us worrying. Performed by fifteen young South African dancers from Market Theatre Laboratory, it uses authentic township vocabulary: traditional singing, feet- and bucket-generated percussion, lyrics straight out of a public information commercial, handmade toys for sonic and scenic effect, together with a whole lot of red tempura...Throughout the performance, a webcam moves between the stage and the audience, mixing random images of ‘us’ and ‘them’ (and lollipops). The piece is laced with humour and charm, but hidden behind it is a cry for help from a ravaged country, in the face of the politicians’ abdication of responsibility, and the world’s questionable engagement in the African Aids problem. The audience literally becomes an integral part of the work. Our physical space is ‘invaded’ by dancers and the ‘death threat’. We are confronted with inflated over-sized condoms with faces painted on, and are offered suckers, without the wrappers on. We may also find ourselves on the projected ‘close-ups’... Milijana Babić

Concept, choreography and direction: Robyn Orlin
Performers: Market Theatre Laboratory
Co-producers: City Theatre & Dance Group; Théâtre de la Ville / Paris; Rencontres Choréographiques
Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis; FNB / Dance Umbrella

Organisation: Cankarjev dom
In collaboration with: City of Women

Date and time of event: 
Oct 07th 20:00
Place of event: 
Club CD, Cankarjev dom