After a series of information sessions with creative individuals and groups we were ready to finalise a 3-day programme for the first Reminiscence Theatre Festival in December 2012 to coincide with the 1st December celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the Cape. This annual festival aims to provide a space for emerging as well as established expressive artists to ‘perform memory’. Collaborations are encouraged. This also includes short films, workshop interventions as performance and discussions as well as dialogues as performance.
The Reminiscence Theater festival is premised on the notion that Cape Town is a divided city. Slavery, colonialism, segregation, apartheid and now gentrification and urban renewal, have all left physical and emotional which can be traced in the routes and avenues people travel on a daily basis to re-enter the city. From the train tracks to the taxi routes, the transport system buckles under the weight of human traffic, historical separation, and economic disparity. Thus, the city is a space of intersection, collision, connection, and disconnection. It is a space of memory, of historical layers of remembering and forgetting. The Reminiscence Theater Festival draws on the ambiguities of memory to raise critical questions about our communities today and the impact of systems like apartheid on society.
The Reminiscence Theatre Festival aims to be a 3 day event to re-imagine /imagine public spaces in Cape Town. It builds on the annual Emancipation Day processions through the city which takes place on the 30 November into the morning of the 1 December. This time is associated with the announcement of emancipation, which was celebrated by the enslaved people of the Cape on 1 December 1834. Processions through the streets, music, and the lighting of bonfires on Table Mountain marked this period. The Kaapse Klopse, and the celebration each year over Tweede Nuwe Jaar draws on this tradition.
The Reminiscence Theatre Festival draws on the above notions of celebration, performance and the ongoing legacies of practices of segregation. This will form a critical and creative remapping of distance and proximity, connection and disconnection.
The ‘klopsekamer’ is a concept that is central to the Cape Town Minstrels. It is usually a home that is transformed into a musical meeting place for klopse to practice. It is a space of gathering. This idea can be a literal starting point, or can be a figurative concept for entry into the city. Artists could engage with this concept through performance, visual, or sound.
The journey on the bus, train, or taxi. This seeks to engage with movement and public transport as the liminal space between the centre and the periphery. Artists can perform, engage with, or stage an intervention within this moving shifting space.
This part of the journey seeks to encourage a variety of forms of engaging with public space, history, historical characters real or imagined. It could include live script making, choreography as a form of scripting the body in space, or visually changing the face of the street.
This leg of the journey, the last before the ‘Tafel’, are spaces for the participants to engage with, voice their stories, and talk! Through a series of talking walls, podcast booths. Street Talk aims to capture the everyday through sound and visual. Artists can stage platforms for participants to engage with.
The ‘tafel’ within carnival, is a space where tables are laid out for ‘klopse’ teams to eat. This could be the final platform for ‘tafel’ talk on topical issues. (Here this could connect with Street Talk) We could also have food art installations. This is the final point of the journey. All journeys end, reconnect, intersect around the ‘tafel’, around food passageways.
The above concepts are various avenues of engaging with the idea of slavery, emancipation, and celebration. Artists can choose to connect or disconnect themselves from this, express their ideas about these themes. Thus, artists can choose to plot themselves on one point of the map or plan a route into the city. Also, artists can be involved in more than on point on the map, more than one concept, the space is yours. The above concepts are concepts for artists to work and engage with, keeping in mind the relevance of the dates of the festival. For example: you could do an entirely visual route into the city under the concept of scripting the street. You could take the notion of sound and connect it to the idea of a tafel, and make a music tafel as one point on a journey.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved.