The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown is South Africa’s largest arts festival. A sort of South African Edinburgh.Extra-Ordinary is the show by Lucy Hind and Dave Toole, written by Matthew David Scott and Mark Catley. A dance/clown piece about naive young Lucy Hind getting her chance to dance with the world renowned, DV8’s Dave Toole. Development Lab is the progressive programmer and commissioner of new work based at Theatre in the Mill, Bradford. Development Lab produced Extra-Ordinary in Bradford earlier in the year before it went on a tour of the M62 to Lowry and Hull Truck Theatre. Now it’s going to play the National Arts Festival in South Africa. Development Lab is run by Leonie Hart and I. In all honesty Leonie did all the work on the show and I am only making the trip because at the time of booking the plane tickets the original production manager (the rather brilliant Matt Angove) was still possibly going into town with the musical he was engineering. It’s been a while since I’ve used the technical knowledge I had when I was much younger: but it’s like riding a bike right? Well it has to be, I don’t think Leonie knows one end of a lantern from another and she’s the only other person making the trip. So that’s how I am on my way to South Africa the day after getting off a plane from India. Mostly this blog will be the experience of being at South Africa’s biggest arts festival and news of Extra-Ordinary’s progress- a very different experience I am imagining than the folk art in India, although not totally unconnected.
It’s quite an interesting show in those terms. Lucy Hind is South African and this for her marks a homecoming after 6 years in the UK. The show also plays heavily on the idea of her being a South African- which makes for good schtick in Hull but will have a complete different reading in the town she went to University in. It’s also the most wonderful time to return to South Africa- a country I am incredibly fond of for it’s optimistic determination- or perhaps better determined optimism- in the face of contrary evidence. For those that don’t know Dave Toole there is probably a piece of information that will make a lot of what is to come clearer for you. He has no legs. Here is a clip of him being magnificent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcpcujComks
For those that don’t know Lucy Hind there is probably a piece of information that will make a lot of what is to come clearer for you. She is my wife. She is always magnificent. So Extra-Ordinary: a story of two clowns: one with no legs, one with no clue. It’s time for Africa.