How to wear denim this summer
The past 18 months have been a steep learning curve for the production team of Penny Youngleson and Phillip Rademeyer who together make up the core of Rust Co-operative.
As writers and directors the two choose to foreground being the artist, but both have been forced to become producers simply in order to get their work staged.
They have to turn down scriptwriters who hand them potential plays, with a wry admission that they simply do not have the money or time to produce, and anyway that's not where their passion lies.
“We knew from the start we were not going to be drawing audiences of 400, and we are okay with that.”
“We always put being the artist first. We have to write about what touches us,” said Rademeyer.”
Producing their two new plays, Tee (Tea) and Full Stops on Your Face has taught them entrepreneurial budgeting skills and forced them to think sideways about props and spaces.
In-between all of this learning, they teach (she at a school and he lectures part-time at a university), have both written a new play and been travelling with drama The View after a successful National Arts Festival run in Grahamstown.
“The audience was so quiet on that first night, but people were just listening. In Cape Town we tend to rely on certain characters to break the tension and get a few laughs, but that didn't happen.
“But, then we got standing ovations and callbacks, so it worked out,” Rademeyer described the first winning performance of The View at the Gay Festival in Dublin.
From there it moved on to Aardklop (where it won two awards) and immediately after the Little Theatre run of Fulls Stops on Your Face and Tee (Tea), The View will receive its fifth outing when it plays at Artscape as part of the Spring Drama Festival.
Rademeyer described being picked up by Artscape as gratifying because it means they’re doing something right. It will also be pleasant to have someone else take care of them for a change, instead of having to be responsible for every detail.
But, before making the trek to Artscape, both can be seen at the Intimate Theatre.
In Tee (Tea) Rademeyer directs Carel Nel, Cintaine Schutte and Renata Redelinghuys as three strangers who don't know each other find themselves in a deserted room, in a post-apocalyptic limbo.
Through the three characters he is interrogating contemporary Afrikaner identity as the play paints a picture of people who find themselves on the edge of their own culture, all the while constantly experiencing the violent interactions which make up every day life.
Tee (Tea) will run as a double bill with Full Stops on Your Face, though both are full-length plays.
Youngleson explained that while the plays dovetail because both interrogate gender identity and grapple with the concept of violence, they do not have to be viewed as double bill.
Tickets can be purchased for either, or both, and after this particular run the plays will follow separate paths.
For now, the plays actually share the set space, so set design takes into consideration that for the one they have to hang up tea cups on the same hooks that carry weapons in the other.
Youngleson directs Iman Isaacs as five different characters in Full Stops on Your Face.
One of these characters is a young woman fully versed in Japanese swordplay, who flips the profile of the usual suspect when violence has been perpetrated of middle class, white male killing to compensate for feelings of inadequacy and loneliness.
“When there’s enough stress in a person’s life, anyone can become their own worst nightmare,” explained Youngleson.
She originally starting toying with the idea when she wondered what a real female superhero would be like if imagined by a woman.
“Face it, if Wonder Woman really flew, her costume would come off,” laughed Youngleson.
Instead of presenting her competent female character as a fetishised version of a comic book character, the character is actually very normal in many respects, except she appropriates violence in order to be acknowledged in the male-dominated world of vigilante heroes.
The play experience starts in the foyer where you hear government-speak about gender violence, which forms a choral chastisement of the blandest kind.
• Full Stops On Your Face and Tee (Tea) play at The Intimate Theatre from October at 7pm and 8.30pm from tomorrow to Sunday, and swap from October 15 to 19. Tickets are R100 to R120 for both, or R60 to R70 for one. E-mail rustcooperative@ gmail. com or call 082 410 6996 or 083 378 8360 to book.