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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912


COETSER, J.L.. Drama chronicle 2008-9. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2010, vol.50, n.3, pp. 383-403. ISSN 2224-7912.

This article investigates the question whether formally published plays, i.e. plays published in paper format, present a reliable picture of the state of Afrikaans drama and theatre in 2008 and 2009. Continuing a trend from previous years, the article shows that the number of unpublished plays contributed considerably to the expansion of Afrikaans drama and theatre in 2008 and 2009. The discussion departs from the idea that published plays may include plays that are not presented in paper format. As applied in the article, the notion of published plays, therefore, include plays published in paper format, as well as performances at arts festivals, radio broadcasts, the publication of plays on internet, and plays submitted to drama competitions. Despite an expansion in the number of published Afrikaans plays similar to previous years, the article concludes that one can discern a number of threats to Afrikaans drama. Examples include discouraging attendances of stage performances of plays at arts festivals in general, the financial consequences of the down-turn in the global and South African economy that adversely influence patrons' ability to attend festivals, and publishers favouring play scripts that could potentially be prescribed for the school market. Despite these threats, and similar to the situation during the decade following the conference titled Afrikaanse drama: hoeksteen of grafsteen (Afrikaans drama: cornerstone or tombstone) in 1989, plays such as Kaburu (2008) by Deon Opperman, Blou uur (2009) by Reza de Wet, and Prinsloo versus (2009) by Adriaan Meyer, continue to be published. These plays reflect continuances and ruptures in Afrikaner society and culture at the time of their publication. Kaburu (2008), for instance, reflects the continuing focus the playwright has on topicalities that broadly relate to his representation of Afrikaner identity, in this case his portrayal of identity framed by the theme of an Afrikaner diaspora. Blou uur (2009), on the other hand, refl ects de Wet's exploration of representations of nostalgia and magical realism associated with some of her previous plays, such as Op dees aarde (1991). Similar to some plays in her trilogies, Trits and Vrystaat-trilogie, Blou uur additionally focuses on the relationships between female and (absent) male characters. Meyer's play, Prinsloo versus, which the playwright based on the life and writing of controversial Afrikaans novelist Koos Prinsloo, represents both continuances and ruptures. Thematically, Prinsloo versus relates to Afrikaans plays reflecting metatheoretical issues. Employing devices labelled by Sierz (2001) as In-Yer-Face Theatre, along with its use of gay codes, strong language and blasphemy, clearly indicate a rupture from plays produced in the period covered by this article.

Keywords : Publication; arts festivals; radio plays; internet plays; drama competitions; Deon Opperman; Kaburu; Reza de Wet; Blou uur; Adriaan Meyer; Prinsloo versus; continuance; rupture.

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