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I-DENT-I-TIES to shine at the Free State Arts Festival
2016-07-08

Description: I-DENT-I-TIES  Tags: I-DENT-I-TIES

Erwin Maas with members of the student cast from the
Qwaqwa Campus. They are, from left: Mpho Xaba,
Lebohang Molefe and Tankiso Mofokeng.

Imagine this: A student cast from a rural campus; Production team consisting of a New York-based Dutch director, a South African screen and stage legend, a The Hague/Vienna-based Dutch theatre designer, and a Vienna-based Serbian performance-craft-artist and designer.

This sounds like a far-fetched flight of the imagination. But it is real and it is called ‘I-DENT-I-TIES’, a large-scale interdisciplinary performance project with international theatre professionals and students from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Qwaqwa Campus.

According to the  director of the project, Erwin Maas, the production explores the ‘dents’ and ‘ties’ of both individual and communal identification and distinctiveness and does this through the famous Basotho story of ‘Moshanyana Sankatana’ as a point of departure.

“We explore questions like ‘what are dents in our society as well as in ourselves’, ‘what ties me to who I really am and who I want to be’, ‘what does it mean to be me’, ‘what does it mean to be South African’,” said Maas, who has been working on this project since last year.

The production also celebrates personal, communal, and universal narratives and identities through song, dance, story-telling, and music. It explores the past, the present, and the future.

“This production will certainly reveal an extraordinary journey into what makes us unique and binds us together,” he added during the rehearsals that started in May at the Qwaqwa Campus.

Maas has teamed up with a well-known South African film and stage legend, Jerry Mofokeng, as consultant. Mofokeng, who introduced Maas to the ‘Sankatana’ story, has featured on a number of critically-acclaimed films that include ‘Cry, The Beloved Country’ as well as the Academy Award-winning ‘Tsotsi’. Maas has also worked with the Hague/Vienna-based Dutch designer Nico de Rooij and Djana Covic, a Vienna-based Serbian designer.

The production is a partnership between the UFS Student Affairs, Vrystaat Arts Festival, the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa. It will premiere at the Free State Arts Festival, held in Bloemfontein from 11 to 16 July 2016. This will be followed by a performance at the Qwaqwa Campus on 19 July 2016.

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