Admission is an immersive theatre/installation hybrid, which sites itself in the Waiting Room of a State Hospital. The two main performance threads by Jason Potgieter and Louise Westerhout intertwine through narratives of illness/death/loss/grief/love/mediumship to draw the witness deep within their own personal space of body and its overwhelming predilection toward disease and death. Both texts question our paradigms which view illness and death as failure, opening a dialogue within the claustrophobic and homogenous setting of the Waiting Room to explore the potential of artistic expression through illness as reflection of societal disease.
“How does the artist reflect a sick society? What is our unique voice? May we love our illness as kidnapper may redeem hostage? How do we view our life once we have passed?”
Amongst the chaos and calm of free improvisation by Niklas Zimmer (percussion), Keenan Ahrends (guitar) and Alberta Whittle, photographs by Noncedo Gxekwa and video projections by Anwar McWhite, Admission traverses the liminal space between life/death, body/spirit, will/consciousness.
Duration: 45 min
Jason Potgieter is a puppeteer, puppetry director, actor, writer and teacher. He has adapted and directed Basil Jones’ I Love You When You’re Breathing (Handspring Puppet Company) for the South African National Gallery, curated the experimental Iqonga puppetry programme at UNIMA SA’s Out The Box Festival and created installations for both the Infecting the City Public Arts Festival and Performativity. Puppeteering credits include Woyzeck on the Highveld and ‘Il Riturno d Ulisse (both created by Handspring and artists William Kentridge). His was awarded a Silver Ovation Award at the South African National Arts Festival in 2013 for his wiring of The Things You Left Behind.
Alberta Whittle is a Barbadian multidisciplinary artist, researcher, journalist, performer and educator. Whittle choreographs interactive installations, interventions and performances as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces. Working internationally, exhibiting in various solo and group exhibitions, Whittle’s work has been shown in Europe, South Africa and the Caribbean. She choreographs interactive installations, interventions and performances as site-specific artworks in public and private spaces, including at the Royal Scottish Academy (Scotland), BOZAR (Belgium), David Dale Gallery (Glasgow), National Art Gallery (Bahamas) and at the Centre for African Studies (South Africa). Her practice is concerned with the construction of stereotypes of race, nationality and gender, considering the motivation behind their perpetuation and the different forms in which they are manifested.
Louise Westerhout is a published writer of poetry and short stories. She graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BA (Hons) in African Studies / Anthropology. Westerhout has worked internationally as an educator and healer. Her professional career of is embodied in the practice of healing, which she does through mediumship, touch and sound therapy. In 2008 while ill with Stage 4 Lymphoma, she was initiated into curative technologies. Her apprenticeship gives her training in the actual application of magical methodology, ideas and beliefs, solidified by her ability to become an open conduit as medium.
Keenan Ahrends is a Cape Town-based Jazz guitarist. Since completing his jazz performance studies at the University of Cape Town and the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2009, Ahrends has been actively involved in teaching, composing and performing locally and internationally. He has studied under the likes of Alvin Dyers, Jon Eberson, Eckhard Baur, Morten Halle, Andrew Lilly, and Mike Campbell. Ahrends has been commissioned to compose for the Goema Orchestra 2012,2013,2014, and regularly performs original compositions with his own Trio’s and Quartet.
Noncedo Gxekwa is a photographer and fashion stylist. Her creative practice engages collaborative forms of photography, and the immediacy of avant garde fashion. She has exhibited in many group exhibitions, including the Lovell Gallery Competition, Bonani group exhibition, and choreographing the demonstration Performing being Black” with the work Intsimbi Ayigobi. Gxekwa is a member of Subtle Agency – an artist collective investigating the dynamic cultural landscapes and curative practices of healers; and the Intermission Collective – which explores the hybrid body through mysticism, memory and alternative realities.
Niklas Zimmer is a German-South African musician and visual artist, performing and exhibiting in various cultural contexts in Cape Town, where he lives. He holds Honours and Masters degrees in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town. Zimmer has been involved in various aspects of the arts, as a teacher and in his own practise in video, sound, performance, sculpture and photography since the mid-1990s. In 2009, he co-founded As Is, an improvised music ensemble. His label, Upland07, has been the platform for a variety of sound projects released on CD: Music: ‘Conference’ [UP01] (with eleven South African musicians, artists and actors, 2000), ‘Infinite Coastline’ [UP02] (with James Webb, 2000); music for theatre: ‘here, now’ [UP04] (sound installation for Helen Meyer Harrison).
Cape Town based artist, Anwar McWhite works in the field of live-visual projection and animation. For over a decade he has been creating eclectic visual experiences which continue to engage a diverse range of audiences, at large festivals, in theatres and music television channel fans. More recently he has created video work for opera, including Between A Rock And A Hard Place and The Mandela Trilogy, as well as video for the hit musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.