If there’s anything to take away from theatre etiquette it’s this: don’t be late.
I’ve been there and sprinting/running/walking/wheezing from St Andrew’s College to Graeme College I realised that the extra 15 minutes spent eating pizza just wasn’t worth it. I have never been so happy to see a line spiralling into the car park – I hadn’t realised I was holding my breath until I sighed with relief at having made it on time. (Although the severe lack of breath might have been due to be my ill-fated attempt at running uphill.)
Had I been not only on time, but a few minutes early, I might have been able to be at the front of the line and getting a good seat would have been an extra-added bonus. (This being written by someone who sat at the back of the audience and the people on stage were pin-prick like.)
But I wasn’t early – not even close – and the only reason I got into the show was because of the amount of tickets that had to be processed at the door. I wondered around Grahamstown like some kind of headless human seriously weighing the pros and cons of hitching a ride: get a ride, soothe my cramping non-existent leg muscles and risk getting chopped up into little pieces by some Fort England escapee? Or just keep running? I’m less embarrassed than I should be that the former seemed more attractive.
Luckily I made it – and the complimentary ticket did not go to waste, even if it was by the skin of my teeth. And the performance did not disappoint.
The Handspring Puppet Company came to fest this year with a show that was less a performance and more an education on puppetry. The sole character – in the role of a kind of lecturer – a puppet manipulated by three members of the company.
I Love You when You’re Breathing is an insightful look into the work of puppetry and some of the criticism surrounding the genre. The performance has a relaxed, informal air to it as the puppet talks to the audience and at times invites the audience to respond. The puppet uses himself as a tool for demonstration as he navigates the mechanics behind puppetry, and even interacts with the puppeteers calling them to attention when describing what each of them does and how they do it.
For anyone with an avid interest in puppetry, I Love You when You’re Breathing is a very informative show without getting too tedious. The puppet, with his sharp humour, ensures that the show stays interesting.
Handspring has created some of the most critically acclaimed work in South African puppet theatre and following the company and their future works could prove a rewarding experience.
Provided you’re not late. — Qondiswa James