Life and Times of Michael K
The Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Theater der Welt, The Baxter Theatre and Handspring Puppet Company present J.M Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K, an exciting, creative and unique collaboration between Lara Foot (CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town) as writer/ director, and the internationally acclaimed and Toni award winning Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company. The actors and performers will be chosen from the very best of The Baxter Theatre Cape Town, South Africa and The Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus. Coproduced by Le Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg.
When his mother wants to return to die on the farm where she grew up, Michael K embarks on a journey through a country shattered by the confusions of civil war. However, she dies shortly after they set off – and Michael must continue in an effort to take her ashes home. "In a violent world, Michael K is a simple prophet who seeks strength in his humanity and his deep connection to the earth," says Lara Foot.
The production combines puppetry, vivid cinematic visuals, extraordinary music by Kyle Shepherd and live actors. The puppet Michael K as well as the ensemble of actors who narrate directly to the audience; complement the story, enable the third person narrative perspective, and at the same time provide us with a privileged insight into the character’s inner thought- processes. The creative team’s development process involves writing the theatre production in tandem with creating and carving the puppets and workshops are currently on-going.
The creative team will use cinematic imagery and beautifully carved 3⁄4 life size puppets which will embrace the story and philosophy of Michael K with an aesthetic grace that reflects the writing of J.M Coetzee and the evocative Karoo landscape, the magical desert plains and 'bush' of South Africa.
Director Lara Foot says: “The world has never been this insanely polarised and violent; Michael K, who is much like a simple prophet, will not bow down to the inane and cruel domination of politics and power, and chooses rather to find strength in his own humanity and his profound connection to the earth. This is a hauntingly beautiful story.”
Life and Times of Michael K will premiere in 2021.
JM Coetzee’s Life & Times of Mikael K
Adapted for the stage by Lara Foot, in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company
Written and directed by Lara Foot
Puppetry Direction: Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones
Puppetry Direction, Design and Creation: Adrian Kohler, Handspring Puppet Company
Composer: Kyle Shephard
Set Designer: Patrick Curtis
Dramaturge: Felicitas Zürcher
Costume Designer: Phyllis Midlane
Lighting Designer: Joshua Cutts
Sound Designer: Simon Kohler
Sound System Designer: David Claassen
Projection Designer and Editor: Yoav Dagan
Projection Designer: Kirsti Cumming
Director of Photography (film), photographer: Fiona McPherson
Director of Photography: Barrett De Kock
Actors: Sandra Prinsloo, Andrew Buckland, Faniswa Yisa, Carlo Daniels, Billy Langa, Nolufefe Ntshuntshe
Puppet Master: Craig Leo
Puppeteers: Roshina Ratnam, Marty Kintu, Markus Schabbing
Production Manager: Marisa Steenkamp
Stage Manager, Lighting and AV Operator: Puleng Mabuya
Administrative Producer (Baxter): Libie Nel
Assistant Stage Managers: Kenan Fortuin, Nosibusiso (Queen) Jacob
Sound Equipment: Eastern Acoustics
Lighting Technician on Duty: Christoff Snyman
Scenic Painting: Yolandi van Jaarsveldt
Sound Operators: Lamont Williams, Jeanne Steenkamp
Sound Assistant : Melissa George
Mic Technician: Babalo Hambi
Camera Assistant: Rebecca Newton
Set Builders: Christopher Spogter, Wayne Jacobs
Followspot Operators: Abubakr Salaam, Shimaya Mgodleni
Live Streaming: Homebrew Films
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Stefan Schmidtke, Wilfried Schulz, Theater Der Welt, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Theater der Welt Düsseldorf 2021, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.
Running Time: approximately 2hours 30 minutes, including interval. Please ensure that all cellphones are switched off.
COVID-19 REGULATIONS: THE WEARING OF MASKS DURING THE PERFORMANCE AND IN THE FOYER IS MANDATORY, PRACTICE PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND SANITISE REGULARLY.