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Author Archives

Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years. This blog promises you new stories every week, be they reviews, profiles, news stories or features.

Photographs that grab you by the history and the heart: Ranjith Kally

An elderly woman sits on the floor separating small stones from lentils. There’s an irrevocable sense of lyricism in her pose, her focus, which makes this mundane activity one of solemn importance. This  photograph by Ranjith Kally of his mother, Rajwanthia Kally, taken in 1947, is a starting […]

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For the love of a little red piano

It’s curiously challenging to attempt to pinpoint quite what makes Rocco de Villiers’s work so utterly entertaining and sublimely successful. Not unlike Nataniël, but still holding firmly to his own brand, his is an approach that is light-hearted yet earnest, filled with puffs of effervescent notes yet competent, […]

Stiff challenges well met in Heidi

Children’s theatre has the license to take the idea of soppy and stretch it to biblical proportions, which enables adults and children alike in the audience to cry with empathetic abandon, as the characters can declare love for one another with the kind of fierce naïve sentimentality that […]

The dulling of exotic verve in Fremde Tänze

“The work begins outside”, people state as the crowd shifts and flows to the quasi-amphitheatre just beyond the foyer doors, and they are silenced in what is arguably one of the more beautiful, elegant and ironic starting points to this year’s Dance Umbrella. The choreographer/performer Nelisiwe Xaba is […]

Wena Mamela: Look and listen

She’s already dancing in a milky grey spotlight when you walk into the space. Amid the noise and rustle of an audience settling into itself and talking and laughing, she performs in a curious silence, marked by facial expressions at once comic and a little frightening. There is […]