Marié-Heleen Coetzee

Marié-Heleen Coetzee
regional managing editor - South Africa

Marié-Heleen Coetzee is an associate professor, acting head of the Drama Department and Chair of the Arts Cluster at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She has written on theatre/performance practice in South Africa as well as on drama/theatre as embodied pedagogies. She presented lectures, workshops and creative work on various national and international platforms. She was a recipient of the IOSP's Paddy Crean Award for her work on Zulu stick fighting and stage combat. Her creative work includes amount others Shiftings, Mapungubwe Stories for the UP centenary celebrations, Get Max Back for Ads24, and FrontLines in collaboration with DUT and UKZN.

Shakespeare and Decolonization: #ShakespeareMustFall?

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 provided ample room for celebrations and commiserations on Shakespeare in South Africa. The quirky title of the article stems from a 2016 student theatre festival at the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal (South Africa) with the same name. The festival was followed by a colloquium on Shakespeare and decolonization. Decolonization has become a hot topic and the subject of vehement debate in South Africa over the past couple of years. South Africa’s university spaces are hotbeds of debate, dialogue, and dissension around the topic. In South Africa, universities operate against the historical backdrop...

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We Can Know More Than We Can Tell: “L.I.F.E: A History of Distance”

Stark white light from bulbs hanging in a straight line against a white backdrop greets audiences in the black theatre space. Stark white lines running parallel with each other cut up the black floor. A line of black chairs runs along the backdrop, emphasizing the linearity and two-dimensionality of the stage design. Between the lines lie possibilities on the brink of enunciation. A black net, strongly angled on the diagonal, covers the space directly in front of the audience from the floor to the catwalk. The interplay of line and dimension that the net offers not only literally distances...

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“Synaesthetics”: Gopala Davies’ Explorations In Intermediality

South African Indian actor and director Gopala Davies’s production of Les Cenci: A Story About Artaud premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2016. The production celebrated the 20-year partnership between The French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and the National Arts Festival (NAF). The production was staged at the Con Cowan Theatre in Johannesburg later in the year. Davies’ production was a semi-autobiographical exploration of the life and ideas of Antonin Artaud (1896–1948) and centered on Artaud’s turbulent encounters with mental illness. Davies specifically explored the distortion of memory in/through mental illness. Davies drew inspiration from Artaud’s The Theatre...

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“DEURnis”: The Anatomy of Intimacy

I enter a suburban house in Capitol Park, Pretoria. A suburban house with a dog. Sculptures in the garden and a water-feature. Candles flickering in the dying light of a late, sultry summer’s afternoon. I am one of three guests arriving for tonight’s first set of performances. I am taken by the hand and lead to a closed door in deep in the house. It feels quite intimate. It is a little unsettling. The door opens. I enter. It’s me, a man and a closed door behind my back. A bedroom. His. He seems to know me. I answered...

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