Countdown to iQonga

I’m living on avocados and toast. Also coca-cola. My flat is a spectacular mess, covered in rogue glue sticks, peelings of latex and foam chips. My kitchen counter is an electronics chop shop. My neighbours think I’m building an android. One caught me dancing around dressed as a demonic crow. It’s these awkward balconies that face each other – honestly, who designs buildings like this?

This morning I was elbow deep in the guillotine, trying to get its winch working. These projects have forced me to learn more than I’m comfortable with – latex molding, carpentry, compromise. I sat down and thought about all the skills I’ve learned and how generally I never get to use them again. That’ll change in the coming year. Although I’m borderline broke right now I have work lined up into January with London Road and a little something at the Baxter – between this and the piles of funding applications I’m filling out I’ll be able to do some juicy projects of my own.

Because if there’s one thing about iQonga I hate it’s that it’s once off. It’s an interesting and much needed platform for independent artists in Cape Town and hopefully the work will live again after Saturday, but we work in an uncertain industry in an uncertain time. Often our work gets one shot. It probably doesn’t help that I’m easily distracted by new styles and ideas and that I love so many different media. But I’m OK with that, it’s one of the elements that set theatre apart, it’s ephemeral: for it to live – for it to spread – it has to be reinterpreted constantly.

I’m going a little off track here but –

Theatre is paradoxically accessible and exclusive. Exclusivity as a concept is generally anathema to theatremakers so we tend to down play it, but exclusivity is also the foundation social and cultural groups and we acknowledge this when we talk about target markets. It is accessible because it can be made anywhere for anyone by anyone, it’s limited by imagination. But it will always be exclusive because there is a limit to how many people can see it. Damn you Time and Space!

In marketing terms we have something that could be framed as a negative or a positive: it’s difficult to see or it’s a rare experience. People want to feel special. Too often people trying to sell their show frame the exclusivity as something to overcome, “It’s worth the effort” – instead of emulating the slick marketing of a music event, “One night only – don’t miss out”. Same idea, different frames.

What was I saying before?

Right, messy flat, mad skillz, own projects, etc.

Right. Exactly. Tonight I’m rethinking the multimedia. Although a more honest statement would be that I’m stopping thinking about it, I’m doing it, realising my bad assumptions and doing something else that works.

Sanjin and Amy just walked in. They have declared me mad. But they seem happy.

So… iQonga, Saturday 10th September, The Little Theatre.

1 night.

6 short pieces by some of the hottest theatre talent in Cape Town.

Book via Computicket because seats are limited and you don’t want to be hearing about how great it was over Twitter.

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About Jon Keevy

Jon Keevy is a writer of stories and plays and also runs Alexander Bar's Upstairs Theatre.
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