On the 24th of February 2017, AFDA Johannesburg Production Course lecturer Tristan Jacobs presented his latest Performance-as-Research project to audiences in Maboneng at the POPart theatre. The show ran for one weekend to generous audiences and features in the Festival of Fame line-up, with the National School of the Arts, at the Joburg Theatre from 7-11 March 2017.
FLATFORM has been in rehearsal process since September 2016. Five months after initiation, the 5-strong cast made up of actors from various training backgrounds, shared the experimental work with a live audience for the first time. The major inquiry of the research is related to experimentation with theatrical styles and techniques not usually seen on South African stages. The format of platform-performance, or Tréteau, relies on a troupe of actors, four to seven of them, delivering an energetic (often comedic) performance on a small platform usually 4x8ft in measurement.
The FLATFORM project investigates the various limits of this tool of performance. What kind of stories can be told in this space? What kind of conventional theatrical techniques can be infused therein?
The structure of FLATFORM’s original presentation glues together the 10-12min standard length of Tréteau performances into three short stories.
The first vignette is an exploration of how much time and effort young people invest into video gaming; entirely devised by the cast, following triggers from the director. The second is a fictionalising of the Cape Dutch settler history – created from a skeleton-script written by the director. And the third is simply a conglomeration of original monologues, written by the actors in response to the idea of ‘falling’ things – fees, finances, birds, drinks and beatings.
Tristan will be presenting his results and findings of the PaR project to delegates at the International Assitej Congress in Cape Town in May 2017.