One Hour Special Could Be Special

FOR art enthusiasts who find themselves just about living at the Warehouse Theatre in never-ending installments of Spoken Word, Free Your Mind and Song Night, 1 Hour Special seemed like an answer to prayer.

An interdisciplinary experimental art piece expounding on the trials of the artist’s journey, ‘1 Hour Special’ premiered to a scattering of people keen to see artists break out of the mould of monthly developmental platforms and present something daring and different.

Though the production could not coax out the city’s cyborgs who cannot fathom art unless it is presented as Spoken Word, Free Your Mind and Song Night, 1 Hour Special successfully premiered to little more than 20 people at the Warehouse Theatre last week.

Reaping in the praise for its impressive staging and sage direction from director Ndino Ndilula, 1 Hour Special transformed the Warehouse into a serious theatre and revealed the potential for the space beyond a platform for bands and one-hit wonders.

As for the play itself, it started off with all the purpose in the world as Lize Ehlers took to the stage and belted out a song that told of an artist’s awakening, which she described as a thing which is battered by unsupportive parents, re-direction and the labelling of one’s passion as a hobby.

This was followed by a poetry piece from Harry Msimuko who expounded on the artist’s inner struggle of whether to stay where you are or go out and chase your dreams despite naysayers and bumps in the road because “obstacles keep you agile and alert.”

With the action moving down an L-shaped stage, the next medium was dance by Equipped Dance Academy who seemed to speak of being in the midst of your dreams. Working hard, meeting like-minded people and the potential of collapsing due to overwork.

This is where the story went a bit awry. The segment was way too long and the choreography could have been better used to tell a clearer story rather than primarily being a showcase of dance and cool costumes.

The dialogue between the two prior pieces and the dance piece was lacking and this was also true of the theatrical segment and the comedy piece, which didn’t continue to deal with the artist’s journey in any sort of narrative way. This after a fluid and linear story was set up by Lize and Harry who spoke of the artist’s journey’s awakening, followed by the doubt and decision to pursue one’s passion.

Though the dance, comedy by Helouise Goraseb and the intense theatre pieces where entertaining in and of themselves they seemed individualistic and adrift from what was established in the first two pieces. The theatre piece in particular was extremely esoteric and the mood did not align or convincingly counter the mood set up by the dance piece though all involved were absorbing and absorbed.

This doesn’t mean that 1 Hour Special is not the most exciting thing I have seen at the Warehouse Theatre in a good long while because it most certainly is.

The stage and projections were magnificent and each member of the cast brought their best but it was still one person doing their bit then the next person, then the next person and the next, as is the case in the three poetry, song and comedy platforms.

To be all it can be, the disciplines need to interact or at least overlap and feed into each other and an overall mood needs to be set within some semblance of a story, so it is not just one person then the next doing what they do.

Essentially, 1 Hour Special definitely needs to iron out some kinks but the preview was promising and offered enough entertainment to want to see it again… tweaked.

If you’re a magician, a juggler or some other kind of talent by night or you’ve been in Song Night, Free Your Mind or Spoken Word for a million years, the format bores you out of your mind and you want to challenge audiences and yourself, get involved.

Source : The Namibian