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Les Cenci: A story about Artaud by Gopala Davies


2016 Les Cenci Poster Small

©Gopala Davies

After his success in Grahamston Festival in July 2016, Les Cenci: A Story about Artaud by Gopala Davies, is now coming to Johannesburg in September 2016.

Les Cenci explores mental illness through a semi-biographical dramatization of the life of French dramatist, poet, essayist, actor, and theatre director, Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud. Through the combination of new media technology and adapting The Cenci: A play by Artaud (1970), the audience is taken on a horrific and, at times, light hearted journey inspired by Artaud's tumultuous encounters with mental illness. While Artaud was misunderstood by society, it cannot be denied that his work has important influences on theatre today.
The performance is physically driven and deviates from the primacy of the spoken word. It does not follow a linear narrative progression, but rather provides the audience with multiple entry points from which they can create their own meaning. Les Cenci stimulates non-verbal communication, sensory engagement and active participation in order to construct numerous unique performance experiences.

Gopala Davies' Les Cenci includes media footage projected on the cyclorama together with a simultaneous live engagement by the performers. At this intersection of live and recorded, where the live actor performs with their recorded bodies, the audience physically engage with the tenets of Antonin Artaud's fundamental performance text Theatre and Its Double (1938).
Gopala Davies is a South African Indian actor and director specialising in film and theatre. He holds a BA Hons (Cum Laude) in Drama and Film Studies, has trained with Anthony Montes (one of the top Meisner technique teachers in Hollywood), and was a student of Stanford Meisner.

Gopala is the recipient of The National Arts Festival Award for Best Director (2014) and received a Standard Bank Ovation Award (2015) for his inter-medial production Barbe Bleue: A story about madness. He is best known for his role as Robert in the SABC 1 soap opera Generations: The Legacy, and has also played in the SABC 3 series High Rollers, as well as featuring in various TV commercials. He played the character Adam in the Short Film Lilith: Genesis One, which won the film category at the 2015 PPC Imaginarium Awards.

Gopala has been a regular participant at the National Arts Festival, both as actor and director in shows such as Boys in the Backroom (2008), Three Wall Temple (2009), Like Show Business (2010), The History Boys (2011), Cry Havoc (2013), Barbe Bleue: A story about madness (2014 and 2015), Les Cenci: A story about Artaud (2016) and Jade Bowers' (2016 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre) Scorched, written by Wajdi Mouawad.

Les Cenci company (2016):
Featured Artists: Fiona Ramsay, Cassius Davids, Jaques De Silva, Macmillan Mabaleka and Martin Van Heerden
Director: Gopala Davies
Stage Manager: Daniella Brews

Dates and venues:

Johannesburg at the UJ Theatre
Show on Thursday 22nd, Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th September 2016 at 7:30pm, open to the public.

Running time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm

Tickets are available by visiting Computicket or calling +27(0)11 559 3058/4674
Please note the age restriction: 16+

To follow Gopala Davies:


For media enquiries contact:

Aude Keruzoré - Communication Officer
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UJ Arts & Culture
Zithobile Shabalala – PR Associate
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University of Johannesburg, Corner Kingsway Avenue and University Road
Auckland Park, Johannesburg, 2092

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