The series highlights the impact of the global economic monster on individuals. The project premiered in 2013 with I Hit the Ground Running (which focused on unemployed youth), followed by Struck Silent in 2014, which focused on senior citizens. With this latest offering, Adagio for a Hacked Life, explores the stress that comes with today’s technology and deadline-driven, information-overloaded and instant gratification culture, through research, dance and music.
Grant van Ster is the choreographer with composition by Jonny Axelsson (Sweden) and Nceba Gongxeka. The three dancers Shaun Oelf, Mishkaah Medell and Themba Mbuli are local, while the musicians Jonny Axelsson (percussion), Mattias Windemo (guitars) and Anette Kumlin (oboe) are from Sweden and Nceba Gongxeka (percussion) is from Cape Town. Costume and set design is by Birrie le Roux and lighting design is by William Wenner (Sweden). Van Ster, Axelsson and Oelf have been involved with the project since its inception in 2013.
The global economy and its effects on the individual once again come under the spotlight in this contemporary dance and music piece that tackles the strains and pressures imposed on people in today’s modern society.
The original music and dance was developed and created based on the responses and outcomes from research which inspired the work. The research for this final production came out of workshops held with two focus groups – one in Cape Town and another in Sweden. People, who have suffered or are suffering from stress, overwork, burnout and chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as their healthcare practitioners, were invited to engage in discussions to form the basis for this latest work.
It looks at how human beings have become victims and are being sacrificed at the altar of economic growth, delivering what the system wants, expects and relentlessly demands. However, at what cost? Is it at the risk of our own holistic existence as human beings? Family, relationships, physical and mental health, as well as personal well-being are all compromised to fulfil and meet the external expectations presented in a contemporary society.
“Our research processes throughout the project have shown us that there is a fundamental clash between the rhythm of human life and the rhythm of the system of economic growth,” explains Annette Taranto, the Swedish producer and process and research facilitator.
She continues, “With the project Growth, we have tried to mirror this clash, however, remaining positive we have always defended and cherished well-being and the triumph of human life over the monstrous system. With this final performance we want to inspire and protect that rhythm from what threatens it. We hope that the performance will stay true to the experiences and wisdom shared with us by the generous persons who contributed to this and all the preceding processes.”
Some of the finest of Swedish and South African talent come together in this unique creative collaboration. This time the development of the production takes place at the Baxter, followed by a three-week, five-city tour of Sweden.
Baxter CEO and artistic director Lara Foot and Scenkonst Sörmland director Maria Weisby met in Johannesburg in 1996 and realised straight-away that they shared a common interest in and curiosity about how society works, how politics affects theatre and how theatre can transform society. “We believe it is serendipitous that now, more than a decade later, we find ourselves involved with, and responsible for, this incredibly dynamic project and collaboration,” says Foot. “It has been funded as an exchange that involves research groups. This means that it allows the art to come directly from civil society and in turn it is filtered through the artists.”
Scenkonst Sörmland is a regional Swedish organisation for the performing arts that covers music, theatre, dance and film. Annually the organisation produces over 1 200 performances through collaborations with professional musical ensembles of all genres, independent theatres and dance groups, and municipal cultural authorities.
Adagio for a Hacked Life previews on 17 February, opens on 18 February and runs until 27 February at 8pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays, with matinees at 2pm on Saturdays 20 and 27 February and at 11am on 25 February. Tickets cost R100 throughout. There is an age restriction of 13 years.
Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.