14 June 2016
To be a HA! performance, spontaneity needs to lie at its core. It actually covers a range, from raw improvisation at one end, to prepared items at the other, unless it is intended as a full-on improvised performance (usually acoustic - piano and dramatic voice, for instance). Normally a HA! performances is item based with no pre-planned programme. I draw from a pool of accompaniments next to me on my laptop, then improvise along with it, mostly with the cello, but also keyboard, flutes, dancing and whistling. When appearing as guest, Joke would join me at times, improvising with words in a poetic-song like manner, picking up on (or fighting) the atmosphere I create, finding expression for her own feelings, telling stories, reading poems or addressing issues of human import. The whole show becomes a journey, broadly starting out slow and soft, going into high energy and challenging sounds, culminating in more home-coming and connecting items, by which time interaction with the audience might have grown - sometimes even towards everyone joining into song or dance. The HA!Show adapts naturally to different types of settings and audiences, but generally flourishes in a focused and open-minded atmosphere.
The backbone of the HA!Man performance schedule is made up of house concerts, followed by community events (art galleries, studios, schools, churches), smaller music and theatre venues and by occasion, especially when collaborating with choirs and orchestras, bigger and more prominent venues. Of the latter, a long list of examples includes these: Southern Africa - Oude Libertas Teater, Guy Butler Opera Theatre, Swaziland House on Fire, Johannesburg Linder Auditorium, Endler Hall, Kalk Bay Theatre, HB Thom Teater, Sandton Theatre on the Square, Die Boer, Backstage Theatre Windhoek, Wellington Breytenbach Sentrum, Cape Town Novalis Ubuntu Centre; (Europe) Cafe Mandela Copenhagen, Cultureel Centrum Maasmechelen, Hotel Le Meurice Paris, Zuid-Afrikahuis Amsterdam, St Nicholas Cathedral, Gent; (North America) Chicago Swedish American Museum, Henry Miller Library CA, Toronto Arts and Letters Club, Hawaii Honoka'a Peoples Theater, Los Angeles Besant Lodge and Center Studios Immersive Dome, Cincinnati Kennedy Heights Arts Center and Schenectady Proctor's Theatre.
HA!Man Show in various guises has also in the past featured at the following
festivals in South Africa: The Grahamstown National Arts Festival, KKNK,
Woordfees, Kolligfees, Innibos, Suidoosterfees, Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen