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The Centre for the Less Good Idea Season 1

It is often the secondary ideas, those less good ideas found in trying to address the cracks in the first idea, that become the core of the work

27/02/2017 06:55 SAST | Updated 27/02/2017 06:56 SAST
Stella Olivier

Imagine a place where artists get to play, experiment and collaborate with no pressure to get it right. A place that nurtures their craft, incubates their failures and pushes them beyond their comfort zones. A place where unconventional spaces are explored for artistic expression and where multi-disciplinary art collides seamlessly. A place where process matters more than the goal.

This may be a performer's utopia, but thanks to renowned artist, William Kentridge's Centre for the Less Good Idea, this is real. And the first week of March will see a burst of interdisciplinary art in Maboneng as the first season of the Centre launches.

Founded by Kentridge in November 2016, the centre provides a space for short form work whose life does not necessarily belong in a theatre or a gallery. It allows artists to follow impulses, connections and revelations that come up in the process of producing work, over two seasons every year.

"Often, you start with a good idea. It might seem crystal clear at first, but when you put it to work the cracks and fissures emerge in its surface, and they cannot be ignored.

It is often the secondary ideas, those less good ideas found in trying to address the cracks in the first idea, that become the core of the work... the intention is to provide a forum for these less good ideas - arguing that in the act of playing with an idea, you can recognise those things that you didn't know in advance, but knew were somewhere inside you", says Kentridge explaining the ethos of the Centre.

The curators for the inaugural season are theatre practitioner, Khayelihle Dominique Gumede; poet and author, Lebo Mashile; dancer-choreographer Gregory Maqoma and William Kentridge. They have brought together over 60 practitioners including actors, dancers, poets, writers, composers, musicians, visual artists, filmmakers and boxers.

The process started with a series of workshops in December 2016 where the less good ideas began to take form. It was a revelation for the curators.

Stella Olivier

"This explosion of creativity has not only stretched every collaborator within this inaugural season but it has also reinstalled the bravery to genuinely explore beyond and to fail extravagantly if need be," says Gumede.

What resonated for Maqoma was the idea that drives the centre.

"One of the strongest things I take from this encounter is that The Less Good Idea is by itself an idea. What makes it great is the gut to test it, otherwise you will not know. This is what the centre is about – discovering the essence of artistic collisions and allowing creativity to emerge without the fear of failure," says Maqoma.

The inter-disciplinary nature of the process has inspired a change in the way Mashile approaches her work.

"I want to work with as many artists across disciplines as I possibly can going forward. I cannot imagine a piece of writing that cannot be made batter by the interpretation of a dancer, theatre director or film maker. I want to tell stories and figure out where they should live instead of forcing them into a box," says Mashile.

Season 1 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea happens from 1 – 5 March at the Maboneng Precinct. The program comprises of performances and films showcased in three different venues in the Arts on Main complex, as well as site specific performances at the Kwa Mai Mai market and installations in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Stella Olivier

Program Details:

4 Short Plays By Samuel Beckett:

DATE: 1 & 2 March 2017

TIME: 7 – 8:30pm

VENUE: William Kentridge's studio at Arts on Main

An evening of 4 short plays performed back to back

Not I, Rough for Theatre I, Play and Catastrophe

Directors include Khayelihle Dominique Gumede, William Kentridge, Khutjo Bakunzi-Green and Jemma Kahn

Actors include Patricia Boyer, Tony Miyambo, Jemma Kahn, Hamilton Dlamini, Vanessa Cooke and Dan Robbertse

In The Ring:

DATE: 3, 4 & 5 March 2017

TIME: 9:00 – 10:30pm on 3rd and 4th March

6:30 – 8:00pm on 5th March

VENUE: William Kentridge's studio at Arts on Main

An evening of collaborative performances from artists across the disciplines of theatre, visual art, poetry, music and dance

Choreographed by Gregory Maqoma, Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Sello Pesa

Composed by João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga

Curated by Lebo Mashile, Khayelihle Dominique Gumede and William Kentridge

Performers include Lebo Mashile, Hamilton Dlamini, Ann Masina, Thulani Chauke, Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Phuphuma Love Minus an Isicathamiya choir.

At The Centre:

DATE: 3, 4 March 2017

TIME: 7 – 8:30pm

4:30 – 6:00pm on the 5th March

VENUE: The Centre for the Less Good Idea | Unit 11 at Arts on Main

An evening of collaborative performances from artists across the disciplines of theatre, visual art, poetry, music and dance

Choreographed by Gregory Maqoma and Nhlanhla Mahlangu

Composed by João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga

Curated by Lebo Mashile

Performers include Thulani Chauke, Xolisile Bongwana, Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Phuphuma Love Minus, an Isicathamiya choir, a 10 piece experimental orchestra conceptualised by João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga to primarily instruction scores and animated scores, musicians include Thandi Ntuli, Tlale Makhene, Waldo Alexander and Mpumelelo Mcata

Kafka's Ape and more:

DATE: 4 March 2017

TIME: 2 – 3pm

VENUE: The Centre for the Less Good Idea | Unit 11 at Arts on Main

An afternoon featuring Kafka's Ape performed by Tony Miyambo and improvisational vignettes directed by Khayelihle Dominique Gumede

Blackboard Projections:

DATE: 1, 2, 3, 4 March 2017

TIME: 5 – 7pm daily

10am – 4:30pm on Sunday 5th March

VENUE: Arts on Main

Afrika:

DATE: 5 March 2017

TIME: 2 – 3pm

VENUE: Kwa Mai Mai Market, Corner Anderson and Berea Street

A site specific performance at MAI MAI Market conceptualised by Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre

Performers include Sello Pesa, Humphrey Malek and Brian Mtembu