Rain in a Dead Man’s Footprints

2004- 2005

Directed by Mark Fleishman
Choreographed by Jazzart Dance Theatre, John Linden, Ina Wichterich, Sifiso Kweyama under the direction of Alfred Hinkel
Musicians: Neo Muyanga, Thandile Mandela, Wonder Made
Design: Craig Leo
Lighting design: Paul Abrahams
Sound design: Tony Madikane
With Jennie Reznek, the Jazzart Dance Theatre and members of the Jazzart Dance Theatre Young Adult Training and Job Creation Programme.

Sometime between 1871 and 1875 a /Xam man by the name of //Kabbo asked a young English woman, Lucy Lloyd, for some thread to sew some buttons she had given him onto his jacket. We know this because Lucy Lloyd wrote down //Kabbo’s /Xam words in a phonetic script devised by her brother-in-law, the German-born linguist, Wilhelm Bleek. Lucy’s translation of //Kabbo’s request, part of the Bleek and Lloyd collection and Stephen Watson’s poetry translated from the same material, forms the basis of the production where dance and movement, song and music, and the spoken word meld to portray, simultaneously, the interaction of the colonial British with the /Xam, as well as our present-day relationship to the /Xam worldview. Rain in a Dead Man’s Footprints is a brand new production which develops the ideas of The Sun, the Moon and the Knife (1995) and takes them on to a new and exciting place. It is inspired by the skills we have developed and the research we have done since 1995 on collaborative projects such as Vlam, Cold Waters, Thirsty Souls and the Clanwilliam Arts Project with learners in the town of Clanwilliam.

“Rain in a Dead Man’s Footprints is beautiful, haunting and visually amazing but contains at its core a deadly serious story. It shows powerfully how the written word can become yet another violence being perpetrated on a people who are already suffering the ignominy of being hunted to death like animals.”
Cue magazine, July 2004

“The highlight of the week’s theatre going, though, has to be the Magnet/Jazzart collaboration Rain in a Dead Man’s Footprints… it is often spectacular especially the breathtaking climax of the show to Neo Muyanga’s insistent “title song” as it were Neo Muyanga and Thandile Mandela’s music, Craig Leo’s designs, and the choreography (co-coordinated by Alfred Hinkel) all reflect both past and present, while Jennie Reznek’s strong physical and vocal presence as Lucy Lloyd somehow cements the production. However, Fleishman must take credit for the overall artistic success of this striking piece of theatre.” Nigel Vermaas, SAfm

“Rain in a Dead Man’s Footprints is a sensory experience. This show is South African, original and very professional. Outstanding!”
The Cape of Great Events, 30 July 2004

Magnet Theatre and Jazzart Dance Theatre

Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, Stellenbosch
March 2004

National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown

7-10 July 2004

Baxter Theatre
28-31 July 2004

FNB Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg
24-25 February 2005

Mogale City, Muldersdrift
1-2 March 2005

Oukiep, Namaqualand
December 2005

Supported by Distell, National Arts Festival, NAC, Artscape, Western Cape Cultural Commission, National Lottery Board, Pro Helvetia, University of Cape Town, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Golden Arrow Foundation, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Gabriel Foundation

Photography Garth Stead, Bellybutton Pictures