Master of her Art

Here at Conspiracy HQ, we don’t often push an academic agenda as we believe that our work is best encountered and talked about live. This, however, is special. And we are trumpeting it up cos Liez unfortunately couldn’t attend her graduation as she was onstage in Joburg for our acclaimed Market Theatre season of “Crazy in Love”.

So…most of you know that our co-artistic directors have been studying again: Rob doing his PhD, and Liez her MA.

Last year saw the culmination of the MA programme. Part One of that was the creation of the dark and delicious “Piet se Optelgoed”, which looks a little like this:

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Piet premiered at National Arts Festival in 2014, where it blew people’s minds and went on to scoop this:

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(That’s a Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award for Physical Theatre. Yeah – it’s pretty cool.)

“Piet” was immediately invited to the Cape Town Fringe in 2014, where it again cooked people’s minds and had critics and the public scurrying for their thesauruses and possibly a stiff drink after experiencing it (one theatre critic was heard to exclaim to another: “Sjoe. I’m glad *I* don’t have to review that”…and that, friends, is a compliment). “Piet” was also immediately invited to the 2015 Amsterdam Fringe Festival.

In 2015, “Piet” has just returned from playing at the SANAA Festival at Zoo Lake, Joburg. The show returns to the NAF before travelling back to Joburg to perform at the fabulous POP Art Theatre, the Lady Grey Arts Festival, and then travels to Amsterdam and beyond. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

“Piet” was Part One. Part Two (for the MA) was writing the sucker up, reflecting on the awesome journey (from Grahamstown to Paris, Cape Town, and beyond). In late 2014, this happened:

Hand in 2014

Thesis: “Piet se Optelgoed: The Female Grotesque as a Provocation for Embodying the Abject”. Submitted.

Drumroll, please.

In 2015, *this* is the result:

happy Liez

And this:

Result 2015

Which, on zoom, looks like this:

Close up

Needless to say, The Conspiracy is impossibly proud of Liez, chuffed to the max, and beaming like a mad thing. So much love, respect, and huge congratulations!

Incidentally, both artistic directors now have at least an MA with distinction from Rhodes…yeah, we’re just sayin’…

 

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One Chance Out at Grahamstown This Year

We will NOT be at NAF this year. Sorry. (Possibly next year, but 2015 we thought let’s give “Piet” and “Tobacco” their time in the winter sun.)

 

However. If you’re in Grahamstown, you have ONE chance to catch Crazy – next Wednesday, 29th April, at 8:30pm. Tickets are incredibly limited, so book now via uglibob(at)gmail(dot)com.

 

OistatBlast

 

“With a hefty dollop of Beckett, some irrepressible clowning and a simple bittersweet tale peppered with absurdities… Andrew Buckland and Liezl de Kock have woven an intricate story of fatherhood with an insane back story and context that makes tragedy comical and vice versa”  Robyn Sassen, MY VIEW 2015

 

Powerful, passionate and desperate – Crazy In Love has created a significant impression on the fringe festival circuit where it won the Best International Production at 2014 Amsterdam Fringe Festival and a Standard Bank Ovation Award at 2013 National Arts Festival Fringe. It was also the top selling show on debut at 2013 National Arts Festival Fringe and at the inaugural Cape Town Fringe Festival 2014, and was a box office success at Witness Hilton Arts Festival in 2013. Most recently, this momentum has turned into more mainstream exposure with a critically and commercially successful season at the famous Market Theatre in Johannesburg.

 

“This is theatre that hits you where it hurts most but so beautifully executed and with such care, that the highs and lows add to the fullness of the performance and the tale. Buckland and De Kock form a perfect partnership in a play that has been tailored their way to tell a story, the execution of which brings great joy to those watching.” Diane de Beer, TONIGHT

 

“When you come out of the theatre awed, tantalised, touched and pondering, then it’s been a memorable experience… It’s theatrical, it’s poignant, the symbolism simmers under the surface and you are riveted by the sheer quality of the acting as the two dance their heart-twisting duet” – Lesley Stones, ARTSLINK

 

“… intuitive and insightful… It is not only the actors who offer the CRAZY IN LOVE its expressive coherence. The remarkable direction of Rob Murray successfully unearths the savage comedy of this play as much as he pays articulate attention to the performances, pacing, and the use of space… a must-see production that succeeds in offering a remarkable visual impact with real physical swagger” – WHATSONINCAPETOWN.COM

 

“The synergy between Buckland and De Kock on stage is profound and mesmerising and they keep you spellbound until the final breath.” –CAPE TIMES

 

“The dream-like quality of the work and the almost child-like return of imagination, made the jury sometimes feel that Alice was back in Wonderland. CRAZY IN LOVE puts the ‘playing man’ back in the centre of the play and the performers are absolutely beautiful, creating a unique universe with the seemingly simplest of gestures. The set is ingeniously constructed out of a wide range of attributes that can be transformed into a hut to sleep in, a shrine for the dead or your worst childhood monster nightmare.” – AMSTERDAM FRINGE FESTIVAL JURY

 

“Outstanding show…Highly impressive for its vision, its realisation on stage through a pitch perfect combination of physical and verbal theatre and interplay” – Paul Levy, FRINGE REVIEW (UK)

 

“unique and complex” – ARTSBLOG

 

“simply majestic… a special little play” BUSINESS DAY LIVE

 

“Beautiful, moving and expertly presented” CUE

 

Inspired by John Irving’s Until I Find You

Created by Rob Murray, Andrew Buckland, and Liezl de Kock

Performed by Andrew Buckland and Liezl de Kock

Directed by Rob Murray

Designed by Jayne Batzofin


Professional Clowning Workshops

Calling all clowns, physical theatre practitioners, and all you other crazy beautiful misfits!

Andrew Buckland and Liezl de Kock are holding a few workshops in Joburg as part of the “Crazy in Love” season at The Market Theatre. Yeah – it’s gonna be awesome!

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Spaces are limited, so book now now NOW!

 

THE SKINNY

 

Professional Clowning Workshops with Andrew Buckland and Liezl de Kock.

Wed 8 April 10:00-13:00 Market Theatre Lab, Newtown.

Sat 11 April 10:00-13:00 POPArt Theatre, Maboneng.

150 bucks per person.

 

It’s a steal.

 

Book at www.popartcentre.co.za

 

Thank you, Market Lab and POP Art!


Crazy Pics

Strangely enough, we have never had a formal photoshoot for “Crazy in Love”…possibly because we’ve been skint, or really busy. No doubt both. (Rob *did* take some early early pics in the Upper Studio, but let’s face it – there’s a reason he’s a theatre-maker and not a photographer…)

So the Conspiracy has relied, since 2013, on pics that other photographers have taken and have very kindly given us permission to use. The awesome Bazil Raubach (who has shot us for many years at festival) took many of our debut year at fest, and they’ve been the ones you generally see in the media. However, now at the Market Theatre, new pics have been taken. The equally awesome Marc Arndt was present at our first preview on 24 March 2015, and took some amazing pics, a handful of which are posted below. (For the full set, including pics of the Grannies and pre-show vibe, go here.)

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LEON: But out here…mannn, out here I could breathe. Nothing was expected of me.

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LEON: And all you can think about is how to get just one more day with that same…skin. Against your skin.  So the last thing you want to do is shed it.

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“When you leave, I’m begging you not to go
Call your name two or three times in a row
Such a funny thing for me to try to explain
How I’m feeling and my pride is the one to blame
‘Cause I know I don’t understand
Just how your love can do what no one else can

Got me looking so crazy right now, your love’s
Got me looking so crazy right now”

(written by Eugene Record, Shawn Carter, Richard Harrison and Beyonce Knowles)

We never knew it was a Beyonce song, mmkay?? The version we know is The Puppini Sisters’ cover remixed by the mighty Real Tuesday Weld. But that’s another post…

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GINNY: So she’s a little bit taller, with her shoulders coming out here and her legs out here and her big furry feet and tail and big ears…

LEON: That’s sorta a metaphor, okay? She is actually human…

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LEON trying to make right with GINNY. (won’t give the spoiler text here…)

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Coming of age, late (and alone) in the night…

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“I’m walkin’, yes indeed, and I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’ for your company
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me”

(Fats Domino on the radio-o-o-o!)

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“I am alone now
I am beyond recriminations
Curtains are shut
The furniture has gone
I am transforming
I am vibrating
I’m glowing
I’m flying
Look at me now”

Ginny – all grown up, now. (Words by Nick Cave – “Jubilee Street”. Because they fit really well.)

Thank you, Marc, for these. And for permission to use them. We are eternally grateful.


Onheil saam met die liefde

And in Die Beeld, originally posted here

Crazy in Love: Onheil saam met die liefde

Deur Magda Swart Woensdag 01 April 2015 03:00

​Crazy in Love

Barney Simon, Markteater, Newtown

Met die aanhoor van die titel is dit duidelik dat dié stuk, wat in 2013 op die Grahamstadse kunstefees gedebuteer het en ook in Amsterdam ’n draai gemaak het, geen gewone liefdesverhaal is nie.

En die weergawe van die liedjie “Somewhere Over the Mountain” wanneer die ligte doof, bevestig die gevoel van onheil wat lê en wag. Terwyl jy lag.

Dit begin met ’n flambojante Leon (Andrew Buckland) wat die gehoor gou laat skater met sy manewales en maniertjies om sy sin met almal te kry – veral met vroue.

Wanneer hy egter op ’n dag alleen voor die kansel staan en besef Ruth, die groot liefde in sy lewe, het gevlug en hom alleen met hul baba gelos, verander alles.

Hy sweer hy sal haar vind . . . en so begin ’n soektog oor die lengte en breedte van die land wat later ’n diep obsessie word.

Op elke plek waar hy haar nie kry nie, tatoeëer hy die naam van die dorp iewers op sy lyf.

Dis 15 jaar later en sy dogter, Ginny (Liezl de Kock), is ’n tiener. Sy soek saam na haar ma en is bereid om te baklei vir haar pa. Sal selfs handgemeen raak as dit moet. Maar soos sy ouer word, kom daar ook ’n ander soeke – ’n soeke na ’n eie identiteit, weg van haar dronk, vulgêre pa, wie se vel lankal ’n padkaart van sinlose tatoes geword het.

Soos die plek op sy lyf minder word vir die volgende tatoe, spiraal die verhouding tussen pa en dogter en elkeen se eie soeke al hoe vinniger buite beheer en stuur dit af op iets waarvoor jy die hele tyd asem ophou.

Buckland is briljant. Hy is steeds die meester van fisieke spel en selfs in die klein, intieme gebare oortuig hy die hele tyd.

Daar is duidelik ’n band tussen hom en De Kock, wat net so sterk is in haar rol. Dit is veral hoe sy ontwikkel van die loslittige tiener tot ’n soekende jong vrou en uiteindelik een wat groot besluite moet neem, wat jou bybly.

Met ’n mengsel van visuele en fisieke spel, waarby die ongelooflike slim stel van Jayne Batzofin ingetrek word as nog ’n sterk karakter op die verhoog, hou die regisseur Rob Murray jou totaal vasgevang vir anderhalf uur.

Crazy in Love is geïnspireer deur ’n hoofstuk in John Irving se boek Until I Find You. Daardie effense malheid wat skuil in die meeste van Irving se karakters kom sterk deur in dié stuk. En hulle sorg dat jy weer deeglik onder die indruk kom van die waansin van die liefde.

Die groot vraag is of Leon en Ginny sal kan wegdraai van die rampspoedige pad waarop die liefde hulle laat beland het.

Al voel dit of daar effens kortpad gekies is met die einde van dié kragtige stuk, bly dit ’n treffende werk wat sterk aanbeveel kan word. Briljante teater.

Tot 12 April.

4 Stars in the Tonight!!

Unrequited love: a descent into madness

 

Leon (Andrew Buckland) and Ginny (Liezl de Kock) scam the congragation in Crazy in Love (Pic by Bazil Raubach)_CITY_E1
(Bazil Raubach) Andrew Buckland and Liezl de Kock in Crazy in Love.

Crazy In Love
DIRECTOR: Rob Murray
CAST: Andrew Buckland, Liezl de Kock
DESIGN: Jane Batzofin
VENUE: Barney Simon at The Market
UNTIL: April 12
RATING: ****

 

It’s like an adult fairy tale; hard-core, but also full of heart. Buckland and De Kock fit together like an old pair of shoes that you simply don’t want to let go of. And so the story also goes. It’s about loss and letting go which becomes that much harder as the outcome becomes inevitable.

But here it is all in the detail. There’s the design which has exquisite light bulb moments as ideas are switched on and off to capture emotions that shine brightly in the darkness of yet another day.

Then there’s the language, fully South African in a mix of English with that accent that’s all ours and a few Afrikaans phrases that leave the deepest cuts.

“Slaap op jou sy en dink aan my (sleep on your side and think of me)”, says Ginny (De Kock) to her long-lost mom and because of the sudden language change, and the simplicity of the alliteration and rhyme, the meaning has a delicate melancholy air.

But more than anything, it is the telling of the story, the bond between the father (Buckland as Leon) and his daughter Ginny which unfolds through their unusual travels as they walk around another corner to find Ruth, the one who got away.

It’s like an old-fashioned black-and-white movie as they hustle between action and song, puppetry and poetry, and faces that speak their own language.

It’s the stance, the sitting on a chair, the deceiving and the attachment they have formed in a lifetime of love that holds only loss.

It’s a universal tale that fills the hearts in the room as they show their pain at every turn and phrase as they hold on to what they have while following the repetitions of their days and lives.

But they know it’s waiting as they slowly take each new day, each new step, to open their hearts to the world in a different way.

This is theatre that hits you where it hurts most but so beautifully executed and with such care, that the highs and lows add to the fullness of the performance and the tale.

Buckland and De Kock form a perfect partnership in a play that has been tailored their way to tell a story, the execution of which brings great joy to those watching.


Crazy Good Theatre

This one from Lesley Stones – originally on Artslink and also on Lesley’s website. Merci!

 

Everything about Crazy In Love feels like good theatre purely for the sake of good theatre.

There is no important message to hammer home, no topic that needed exposing or emotions to publically cauterise.

It’s a play written, perhaps, solely for the sake of entertaining, and the story, the fabulous acting, and the incredibly inventive props-cum-scenery all support that goal of excelling just because you can.

That’s not to diminish the story spun by Crazy In Love, which has con man and professional charmer Leon (Andrew Buckland) travelling the country for years searching for the woman who jilted him and their baby at the altar.

We catch up with him on the road with his now teenage daughter Ginny (Liezl de Kock) scamming and scanning the country in their endless, futile quest.

It’s a tragi-comedy created by A Conspiracy of Clowns, a collective of theatre makers including physical performers, writers, directors and designers. It’s their fourth work and has won several festival awards, and it’s now getting a mainstream airing at The Market Theatre.

Buckland and De Kock are brilliant, both separately and together. Buckland drives the show with his character changes as he morphs from the slick to the sick as the booze takes over, eroding him into a shambles of a man. He tells his tale elaborately and expressively, a master of mimicry and physical clowning in both sides of its happy/sad façade.

De Kock matches him in the clowning, shining in those scenes where the story enters madcap territory.

The tale was written by Buckland, De Kock and Rob Murray, who also directed the show and holds everything together perfectly. It’s wacky, but never stupid, poignant and immaculately timed, romping along at a pace that matches their road trip, with some reflective times along the way.

The set by Jayne Batzofin is the third star of the show, with a shopping trolley crammed impossibly high to form the travelling junk shop of two lives. There are bits that unfurl or fold out, a hidden shrine to Ginny’s missing mother, a stepladder that doubles as a chair. It’s as wackily inventive as the story and the characters, again showing the talent for off-the-wall thinking that makes this piece so striking.

While the image of Buckland oozing from one conning character into the next so superbly is the lingering memory, the ingenious clutter of their crazy lives is another lasting highlight.

Crazy in Love runs at the Market Theatre until April 12.

Lesley Stones is a former Brit who is now proudly South African.

She started her career by reviewing rock bands for a national UK music paper, then worked for various newspapers before spending four fun-filled years in Cairo, where she ended up editing a technology magazine.

Lesley was the Information Technology Editor for Business Day for 12 years before quitting to go freelance, specialising in travel & leisure writing and being opinionated about life in general. Her absolute passions are travel, theatre, the cinema, wining and dining.

Lesley Stones
Freelance journalist
www.lesleystones.co.za