MMA COURAGE – A
THEATRE PROJECT IN JOHANNESBURG, VIENNA AND PRETORIA / TSHWANE BASED
ON MOTIFS BY BERTHOLD BRECHT
Mma Courage is an international
theatre project based on motifs from Bertolt Brecht’s Mother
Courage and her children. South African and Austrian artists jointly
develop a multicultural re-interpretation of this well known plot.
Brecht’s text serves as a steppingstone for the development
of the new script that will be written by South African director
and author Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom and fixed during the rehearsals
with the collaboration of the cast. Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom is
considered as a young black African shooting star. Together with
internationally-active theatre artist peter fuxx from Vienna he
will stage Mma Courage. Thirteen South African actors and musicians
will perform the play in English and several South African languages.
Musical director Jörg Ulrich Krah will write the
score for the emerging play, focussing on the creative examination
of South African music – from traditional folk songs across
Kwaito and Jazz to hip hop and pop.
This international collective of artists will
transpose themes and motifs from Brecht’s Mother Courage
and her children to contemporary Africa and examine which topics
Mother Courage is able to impart today in the context of globalisation.
The Austrian Embassy in Pretoria has confirmed
the relevance of the project, which will be one of the main features
in the South African Year of Culture in 2009, pointing out that “This project
is an important contribution in the range of cultural cross-over
between Europe and Africa, specifically appreciated by the ‘new
The first step to implement Mma Courage was made
by holding a workshop in Pretoria / Tshwane in August 2007. The
crew from Vienna was working with Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom and
performing artists of the South African State Theatre on the Courage
plot, in order to transpose the topic into a South African context
and to find a common working method. The final presentation took
place on August 20th 2007 at the “Arena”, one of the
six stages of the South African State Theatre. The workshop was
the initial point for a continuous process, which will maturate
to the actual performance in 2009.
The goal is a theatre production, in
which different forms of expression like language, physical action
and sound add up to a pattern of tessellation. A small orchestra
on stage, consisting of traditional African and western instruments
will accompany the action and interact with the drama cast.
Following the world premiere at the end of 2009 at the renowned Market
Theatre in Johannesburg, the play will receive its Austrian premiere
in Vienna in collaboration with danceWEB (ImPulsTanz – Vienna
International Dance Festival). In early summer 2010, another run
of shows will take place at the South African State Theatre in Pretoria