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Aïa - On the trail of the Bushmen


1-18 September 2011
Artscape, Cape Town
Performances in Cape Town’s townships (organised by Artscape)

Following an acclaimed South African tour of their poignant piece MâRavan in 2009, ThéâtreTaliipot is back to present their new work !Aïa“from cave to sky”.

!Aïa is a San name which means a special state of being. This transversal work between art, culture, science and traditional wisdom celebrates our origins, life, the living, the relationship between human beings and nature. For this project, the company has worked with artists, traditional healers and scientists such as Professor Sam Challis (Archaeologist, Origins Centre, Wits University), Sven Ouzman (Archaeologist, rock engraving specialist, Pretoria University), John Parkington (Archaeologist, Cape Town University), Pippa Skotnes (Archaeologist, Cape Town University) and Jean-Loïc Lequellec (Research director at the CNRS, France, rock art specialist). Their research during the creative process took them to the ravines and heights of Reunion Island, and in South Africa, to the Drakensberg and the Cradle of Humankind in particular, on the trail of the world’s oldest civilisation… the Bushmen. Engraved rocks and rock paintings inspired this work, which stages corporal and primeval memories beyond all exiles, ruptures and denominations.

Exploring the persecution of and discrimination against the San people, the fathers and the mothers of us all, Théâtre Taliipot expresses their origins, their link to the Earth, and to nature, with which they are in everlasting empathy…

“I am the people from whom the loss of earth is the loss of everything” (Poem/xam, san)

This contemporary show is not so much a specific story, as an experience... The performance, which is incarnated by three Reunionese and South African dancers, actors and musicians Thierry Moucazambo, Themba Mbuli and Isaak Rakotsoane, celebrates the relationship between Man and Nature, domination and empathy… The live music played on stage is inspired by African traditional and contemporary songs, mixed with compositions by Mozart and Bach.

The idea of the project was born in the minds of Philippe Pelen Baldini and Thierry Moucazambo from ThéâtreTaliipot at NIROX, a private foundation in the Cradle of Humankind, in September 2009. The artistic team then started working in Reunion Island. They returned to NIROX  in November and December 2010 and May 2011, and will polish their work during a two-month residency at Artscape in July and August before presenting the work at Artscape for the first time this September.

“!Aïa is waking up your strongest feelings and becoming reborn… To fully awaken, !Aïa requires filling your heart with overwhelming love.” Bradford Keeney, Honorary Senior Researcher Fellow, Rock Art Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Joburg.

Co-produced by Artscape Theatre Centre, NIROX and Théâtre Taliipot, with the support of the French Institute of South Africa, Conseil Général and Conseil Régional of Reunion Island and the French Department of Culture.
This project is under the patronage of Marlene Leroux, Director of Audience Development and Education, Artscape.
With thanks to: !Khwattu – the San Education and Culture Centre, and the San community.

www.artscape.co.za / www.theatretaliipot.com
Read more on www.ifas.org.za

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