Public Presentations

These presentations have been specifically developed and created to share the work and findings of the ReTAGS research to an extrenal audience.

  • Reimagining Ancient Greece and Rome: APGRD Podcast

    A podcast with Mark Fleishman and Mandla Mbothwe Reimagining Tragedy from Africa and the Global South (ReTAGS) is a project led by Mark Fleishman and Mandla Mbothwe. In this episode, Mark and Mandla discuss the project's aims, reimagining the concept of tragedy from a perspective in Africa that is directed at the complex challenges of our global postcolonial present and towards our possible futures both inside and outside of the discipline. Presented by Claire Barnes Production by Giovanna Di Martino and Claire Barnes
  • MÉDÁYÉ: A Rehearsal | Play-reading

    MÉDÁYÉ: A Rehearsal is a re-reading for the African stage of Euripides' Medea by Prof. Femi Osofisan. This is a new play by Osofisan, currently in its development phase of scripting. The script is still undergoing changes and alterations, so this play-reading should be viewed as part of the script writing development phase, and not a final product. The first readings were performed around Ibadan, Nigeria earlier in 2021. This play-reading was initially streamed online for a limited period in connection with Act 2 of the ReTAGS Speaker Series (presented online (Zoom meeting) on Monday 16 August 2021 at 15:00 SAST.) Performed by Faniswa Yisa, Olalekan Balogun, Morapeleng Molekoa, Motlatji Mjamba, Sivenkosi Gubangxa, Lesego Chauke, Thapelo Hlongwane and Elikem Kunutsor. Directed by Mark Fleishman and edited by Themba Stewart.
  • ReTAGS Speaker Series | Act 2 | Prof. Femi Osofisan

    Act 2 of the ReTAGS Speaker Series. This Speaker Series took the form of a Q&A with Prof. Femi Osofisan about his latest African tragic adaptation, 'MÉDÁYÉ: A Rehearsal' (a re-reading for the African stage of Euripides' Medea). The adaptation was streamed online (for a limited time with permission from the author) as a play-reading. Performed by Faniswa Yisa, Olalekan Balogun, Morapeleng Molekoa, Motlatji Mjamba, Sivenkosi Gubangxa, Lesego Chauke, Thapelo Hlongwane and Elikem Kunutsor. Presented online (Zoom meeting) on Monday 16 August 2021 at 15:00 SAST. Chaired by Prof. Mark Fleishman. ------------------------------------------ Prof. Femi Osofisan is a critic, poet, novelist, essayist, lecturer, editor, publisher, culture activist, the most prolific, most performed and the most enthusiastically received playwright in Nigeria. He is known for his critique of societal problems and his use of African traditional performances and surrealism in some of his novels. Among the literary awards and commendations he has won are prizes from the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) for both drama (1980) and poetry (1989) and in 2004 he was awarded the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM), the highest academic prize in the country.
  • ReTAGS Speaker Series | Act 1 | Prof. Ato Quayson

    Act 1 of the ReTAGS Speaker Series. Presented by Prof. Ato Quayson, author of the recently published book 'Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature’ (Cambridge University Press, 2021). Prof. Quayson spoke on the topic of: Suffering and the Ethical Complex In and Outside Tragedy. Presented online (Zoom meeting) on Thursday 08 July 2021 at 18:00 SAST. Chaired by Prof. Mark Fleishman. ------------------------------------------ Prof. Ato Quayson is The Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Stanford University, where he has been since 2019. Prior to that he taught at the University of Cambridge, the University of Toronto, and at NYU. He has published 6 monographs and 9 edited collections and is an elected member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada, and of the British Academy. He is an immediate Past President of the African Studies Association and is also general editor of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry and also curates Critic.Reading.Writing on YouTube.
  • Theatre amongst the ruins: The poetics and politics of South African adaptations

    This online public presentation was part of the Politics and Performance Speakers Series. Through the conceptual metaphor of the ruin, the lecture explores the ways in which the classical archive has been mobilized and reinvented by two white theatre-makers in South Africa: Athol Fugard’s production of Orestes in 1971 and my own adaptation of Antigone (not quite/quiet) in 2019. Mark Fleishman is Professor of Theatre in the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town. He is also a co-artistic director of Magnet Theatre, an independent theatre company established in 1987. Recent publications: Performing Migrancy and Mobility in Africa: Cape of Flows in the Studies in International Performance series at Palgrave (2015) and two special issues of the South African Theatre Journal on Translation & Performance (2019 & 2020). He is currently principal investigator on the project Re-imagining Tragedy from Africa and the Global South, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • Public Lecture - Reimagining Tragedy from Africa: A South African perspective

    In this public lecture, Prof. Mark Fleishman will present the ideas motivating a new five-year project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Reimagining Tragedy from Africa and the Global South. The project sets out to explore tragedy, a concept from the very beginnings of theatre in its European manifestation and therefore of the discipline of Theatre Studies which is decidedly European, and to reimagine it from a perspective in Africa that is at once directed at the complex challenges of our global postcolonial present and towards our possible futures. The presentation will focus on a new production, Antigone (Not quite/quiet), recently produced in Cape Town by Magnet Theatre as part of the broader research project. It will do so against the backdrop of recent social and political events in South Africa and as a development of two earlier works: a version of Medea (1994) at the point at which South Africa was moving from the system of apartheid into a new dispensation, and a version of the Orestes/Electra story, titled In the City of Paradise (1998), in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process a few years later. The latter work was re-staged in 2015 with a new generation of young performers responding to the consequences of the policy of reconciliation proposed by the Mandela government post-1994. The audio has been edited to remove the public Q&A section from the public lecture.
  • The Archive as Storyteller: Curating Narratives from a Rehearsal Process

    Theatre in South Africa is deeply entrenched in the art of storytelling. From the traditions of African oral histories; through to bodies presenting narratives in contemporary performance spaces. We live, speak and move our stories in our embodied performance practices. The RETAGS (Reimagining Tragedy in Africa and the Global South) research project, led by Prof. Mark Fleishman, explores how the form of tragedy has evolved alongside and perhaps influenced the continent’s forms of storytelling. One of the strands of the project is the development of new theatrical performances that interrogate this concept, which is further captured through digital means into audio clips, video segments, image stills and text towards organising an archive. However, performance and its development by its nature is ephemeral, so how can it transform into something digital? And can the digital outputs tell their own stories? This 15 minute presentation was created for the African Studies Department at the University of Kansas, for their virtual Symposium on African Digital Storytelling held on the 09-10-2020 . Dr Sanjin Muftic and Jayne Batzofin outlined the way in which Antigone (not quite/quiet), the first of four practice-based research performances of the RETAGS project, was documented and how the archive is currently being developed in order to share the multiple stories of tragedy on the African continent. Through this we aim to give precedence to the way artists can use performance practice-based research and oral histories as a reputable means by which to produce data, in order to drive and interrogate academic research. TOC 00:00:00 | Introduction 00:00:35 | South African Theatre 00:01:38 | Reimagining Tragedy in African and the Global South (RETAGS) Research 00:03:13 | Theatre and the Connection to the Digital 00:04:53 | Building the Digital Archive/ Data Capturing 00:08:50 | Building the Digital Archive/ Digital Curation 00:11:35 | Showcasing the Digital Archive 00:13:34 | Conclusion Selected References: - Basu, Paul and F. D. Jong. “Utopian Archives, Decolonial Affordances: Introduction to Special Issue.” Social Anthropology 24 (2016): 5-19. - Hall, S. 2001. ‘Constituting an archive’, Third Text 54: 89–92. - Mbembe, Achille, and Bregtje van der Haak. 2015. “The Internet Is Afropolitan.” The Chimurenga Chronic New Cartographies. March 17. Accessed August 12, 2015. http://chimurengachronic.co.za/the-internet-is-afropolitan/. - Mignolo, W. D. 2011. The darker side of western modernity: global futures, decolonial options. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. - Munoz, T. 2012. Doing Digital humanities in the library isn't a service. Available: http://trevormunoz.com/notebook/2012/08/19/doing-dh-in-the-library.html. Accesses 25 August 2019. - Sant, T. (2017), Documenting Performance, Bloomsbury UK. Scheub, H. 1996. The Tongue Is Fire : South African Storytellers and Apartheid. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. - Stoler, A. L. 2009. Along the archival grain: epistemic anxieties and colonial common sense. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. - Trouillot, M.-R. 1995. Silencing the past: power and the production of history. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
  • Documenting the Ephemeral: Performance Archive and the Showcase Repository

    This 12 minute presentation was created for the Open Repositories 2020 Virtual Conference held on the 02-06-2020. Dr Sanjin Muftic and Jayne Batzofin present their work on the capturing, curating and relevancy of developing an online open access repository (Omeka S) for the rehearsal process of performance making within the RETAGS project at the University of Cape Town. The Reimagining Tragedy in Africa and the Global South (RETAGS) project (PI - Dr. Mark Fleishman) has embarked on a five year staging of events and field research to investigate the restaging and reimagining of tragedy on the African continent through performance. During their development process of their first production, Antigone (not quite/ quiet), they documented their rehearsal processes through digital means. This resulted in 1.8TB of data consisting of video and audio recordings of daily rehearsals and performances, audio interviews with the creative team, stills from the design elements, and texts such as scripts and actor’s notebooks. The dataset is unique, comprehensive and loaded with local knowledge. The presentation talks through the process of data curation towards the publishing in an online repository. It looks at the steps in data management, metadata capture, schema creation and the discussions around publishing. The presentation will highlight the challenges posed by this “living performance archive” in terms of making data Findable Accessible Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR), as well as issues around copyright, data protection and ownership. Using the theatrical example of RETAGS, this presentation makes some recommendations for structures in developing a repository of theatrical productions. TOC 00:00:00 | Introduction 00:02:14 | Process of Capturing 00:04:45 | Process of Curating 00:08:10 | Questioning Relevancy 00:10:50 | Conclusion
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