Sample (2011): Experiment #0 - Digital

2019-03-19T07:33:45Z (GMT) by Sanjin Muftic
"Frank and Fanette"

This video was devised as part of the research project on developing planetary theatre through bricolage and theatrical images. It was the first experiment in sampling live performance. It is a seven-minute montage video entitled “Frank and Fanette”. The video contains elements from six different theatrical productions filmed in Cape Town between 2010 and 2011. The montage combines dialogue from a South African script (Pornography by Amy Jephta), music from The Shadow of Brel, a Jacques Brel cabaret (performed by Godfrey Johnson), video from four original South African works: Quack!, Wombtide (both produced by FTH:K, dir Rob Murray), Inxeba Lomphilisi (Magnet Theatre, dir Mandla Mbothwe), as well as video projections from a South African staging of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (Richard Wagner Society, dir Lara Bye).

The idea for this short film had arisen from my encounters with two of the performances used to create the video montage. At a particular moment during each show, I realised that something on stage had triggered an image in my head which was similar to one from another production I had watched. The plays were vastly different in their performance style and made use of different performers and creators. The one was a physical theatre piece that did not rely on a spoken language, while the other was a production performed in Xhosa. What was interesting for me was how a particular image triggered from one production re-surfaced when I had seen something similar in another production. This mental image, though difficult to describe, was of a single person waiting for their lover, while knowing they would never come. It was an image of longing, pain and of someone lost.

The sampled theatrical images talk to each other when placed next to or one after the other. The first aim of “Frank and Fanette” was to have the samples in the montage build the narrative of a tragic love story of a couple who had fallen in love, before something had turned their world upside down, even if the couple came from two entirely different plays and styles. The second aim was to juxtapose the different plays and styles by evoking similar mental images for the viewer. When using the term juxtaposition, I am acknowledging that, much in the same way as Bakhtin (1981) identifies “heteroglossia” within the novel, these images within the film serve as different voices and different realities and that their combination can reveal something about the arranger’s intentions.

The methodology of subsequent live experiments was informed by this video project.

This description is extracted from the related PhD thesis which references:
Bachtin, M. M. & Holquist, M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin: Univ. of Texas P.