Africa Centre’s INFECTING THE CITY, Public Art Festival 2013 – CAPE TOWN
Punchdrunk Enrichment and Arcola Theatre – UK
The city is undoubtedly infected as Raquel Meseguer from Punchdrunk and Owen Calvert–Lyons from Arcola Theatre arrive from the UK. They are here to work with young writers in creating short audio tours of the city. With Cape Town being the sixth city in the world that they have undertaken;The Africa Centre, The British Council and GIPCA have partnered in this intimate experience of viewing the city with fresh eyes.
In a team of three or four writers per tour, the theatre company spend two days with participants playing with ideas of the journey, getting into a particular head space and attending to the details of ‘storytelling within the forgotten spaces’. Once the creative juices are mutually flowing amongst the creatives; two days are consumed by writing the script and on the fifth day it is recorded for the travellers’ use.
The “Infecting the City” tourist is given a map marking the starting point of the journey and an MP3 player in order to listen to this unique journey. The experience gives the listener the ability to think and reflect by being in a different mode in their city. This, in turn, allows the listener to be more responsive and aware of their location. “It’s navigating purely with the voices. Some journeys are conversational and some drop you in to a place. They go on a purposeless walk”.
The tour writers are all Cape Town dwellers; students, new arrivals and veterans alike. “There is a 10 year age gap between them. They are all different genders, ethnicities and they speak different languages.”
Because Cape Town is a diverse city with all eleven official languages spoken daily; English was chosen as the official language for the project, however, some phrases were left untranslated. After all, local is lekker!!
“You are thrown into this three legged melting pot, the ingredients:
, the diverse people of this potjie dish, their kaleidoscope of colours blended around you. Look to your left, down the street, look to your right, varied ingredients bring with them the flavours of their past, spicing the potjie with their memories, infecting the present with their aromas, passion of identity.”