Smile Politely

South Africa’s ISANGO Ensemble performing at Krannert

Thursday-Friday, October 2-3, 2014, at 7:30pm

Director Mark Dornford-May and Music Director Pauline Malefane formed what is now ISANGO Ensemble in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2000, drawing its performers from the previously disadvantaged townships surrounding the city. Since that time the theatre company has played to audiences of over 3 million on stages around the world. ISANGO’s productions reimagine classics from the Western theatre canon, finding a new context for the stories within a South African or township setting and thereby creating innovative work relevant to the heritage of the nation. ISANGO’s award-winning film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, a vivid version of Bizet’s opera Carmen, was featured at the 2006 Roger Ebert Film Festival. Of the film, Ebert wrote, “Does the transition to a township near Cape Town work? The opera seems almost to have been written for its new location.”

To Krannert Center, the brimming-with-life ISANGO Ensemble brings The Magic Flute (Impempe yomlingo), featuring Mozart’s score transposed by Mandisi Dyantyis for an orchestra of marimbas and performed in a melange of languages, including English. The production broke box office records when it played at the Young Vic in London, then went on to win an Olivier Award in the West End and the Globes de Cristal following a sold-out season at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Beyond the official kudos, and most important of all, ISANGO Ensemble’s production of The Magic Flute “leaves you with a rare sense of life-enhancing joy” (Sunday Times, United Kingdom).

Recommended for ages 9 and up. Event listing here.

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