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Hanamichi: a feast of visual theatre

Date Released: Mon, 29 July 2013 11:59 +0200

There is something wonderfully ironic about the play Hanamichi being inspired by a poem, yet hardly a word is spoken throughout the piece. 

Directed by drama Masters student Tristan Jacobs, the play attracted a full house to the Rhodes Box Theatre on 26 July as part of an examination process.

The name of the play derives from a direct Japanese translation of “flower path”, but in this case is a reference to the walkway upon which most of the action takes place. Ted Hughes’ The Thought Fox is recited in a recording which opens this visually striking piece and that is pretty much the last speech the audience hears for the 50 odd minutes of captivating visual theatre.

Against a dazzling backdrop of drawings and paintings, we are introduced to Ted Hughes, portrayed by Sandi Dlangalala, who then summons the chorus by the magic of his pen. However, most of the play is centred on his struggle to write, express and conjure his next literary masterpiece.

Jacobs was pleased with the amount of performance time his piece received before the crucial exam night. “We’ve run the show at [the National Arts Festival] for the practice so I’m feeling incredibly excited,” he said.

As the audience followed the travails of the main character, the lively chorus kept the narrative ticking with constant physical interplay which mirrored Hughes at times.

As the lighting shifts from scene to scene, props are given a different perspective. The lone chair is flipped around and takes on sounds through the actors. A rogue lamp directs its glowing gaze around the room. Even the table comes alive.

The fox makes her grand entrance, for all to bow submissively before her. The longer she lingers, the more animated Hughes becomes. His attempts get more frantic with each passing minute.

Jacobs and his cast made the conscious choice to tell the story using their bodies. There was no leaning on dialogue.

Hanamichi was imaginative in its conception and lively in its execution while the warm audience reception acknowledged its creativity.

Voices finally filled the room again as they cheered for Hanamichi.

Caption: Ted Hughes, played by Sandi Dlangalala, duels with the Thought Fox in Hanamichi:

Picture: Teigue Blokpoel

By Tyson Ngubeni

Article Source; http://oppidanpress.com/hanamichi-a-feast-of-visual-theatre/