Now in its sixth year, the Fugard Bioscope World Arts Cinema Season brings local audiences screened productions of international plays, musicals, operas and ballets. It comes as a result of The Fugard’s partnership with some of the world’s greatest theatre companies, including The National Theatre, The Royal Opera House, The Royal Ballet and The Bolshoi Ballet. And, as of this year, Cape Town’s famous playhouse has added The Globe Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Salzburg Festival to this list. A launch party for the 2017 season was held on Sunday.
Those in attendance were treated to a screening of The National Theatre’s production of The Threepenny Opera, the bawdy 1920s theatre piece written by Bertolt Brecht with music by Kurt Weill. This was the fourth offering so far in the season’s four-month-long programme, and was a great indicator of the quality of its forthcoming attractions.
Called ‘a play with music’ upon its release, and set in the grimier quarters of London, The Threepenny Opera is an indictment of capitalism. It’s antihero, Macheath (Olivier award-winner Rory Kinnear), is a womanising cutthroat who has just married the dowdy but determined Polly Peachum. Her father controls a gang of beggars, and her mother is another of Macheath’s lovers. Upon their discovery of the marriage, they connive Macheath’s downfall.
Throw in the Chief of Police (and Macheath’s former comrade-in-arms) ‘Tiger’ Brown and his sultry daughter Lucy; a lovelorn prostitute named Jenny; and an underworld of other ne’er-do-wells, and you’ve got a show that’s as crass and hilarious and is it is politically and emotionally charged. The music is electrifying, and recognisable in some cases. ‘The Ballad of Mack the Knife’, sung early on, was rewritten several times and became the jazz standard we now know simply as ‘Mack the Knife’.
You might think watching a stage production on screen bears little in comparison to catching it in real life. But I can safely tell you that it is just as exhilarating, if not more so. Instead of watching from one vantage point, you are drawn into the action. You can see the performers’ expressions clearly, and get nearer glimpse of the show’s energy. Actors, props and set pieces all fly past you as if you’re actually in the story.
If this tempts you, then we’ve got the low-down on what to look forward to from The Fugard in February. And if you love ballet and The Bard, then you’re in luck!
Cymbeline, The Royal Shakespeare Company
One of Shakespeare’s less known and and rarely performed plays, Cymbeline has been classified as a tragedy by some, as a romance by others, and even as a comedy by a select few. Set in a divided Britain, its themes include power, innocence, jealousy, love and reconciliation. Directed by Melly Still, Cymbeline stars Gillian Bevan as the title character, the ruler of Britain; and Bethan Cullinane as the play’s heroine Innogen.
When Sunday 5 February 2017 at 11 am
King Lear, The Royal Shakespeare Company
Now here’s one you might have heard of. One of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies, King Lear is the devastating tale of a man who divides his kingdom between two venomous daughters, banishing the third (the iconic Cordelia). He loses his authority in the process, as well as his mind and more. This production stars Cape Town-born acting legend Sir Antony Sher as the title character, and is directed by Gregory Doran.
When Sunday 12 February 2017 at 11 am
The Golden Age, The Bolshoi Ballet
If 16th century verse is not your thing, then how about a satirical balletic take on Europe in The Roaring ’20s? Set in a seaside town, The Golden Age is a love story between Boris, a fisherman, and Rita, a dancer and friend of a local gangster. It’s a colourful, energetic and original production that features cabaret numbers, chase scenes, and beautiful duets between the two protagonists.
When Sunday 26 February 2017 at 11 am
There’s plenty more where this comes from! Check out the Fugard Bioscope Season programme to see what’s on from March to August.
Where Corner of Harrington Street and Lower Buitenkant Street, District Six
Cost R100 at Computicket
Contact +27 21 461 4554, [email protected], thefugard.com
Photography Archives, Richard Hubert Smith, The Fugard Theatre, Elena Fetisova