South Africa: 'What Is the Importance of Art When a Country Is Burning?' Escaping Reality With Comedy, Satire and Drama

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South African performers gather to discuss the importance of having a sense of humour and keeping comedy alive at the Take-a-STAND dialogues last weekend.

2020 was rough, there's no denying it. And with the beginnings of 2021 faring only vaguely (if at all) better, it's increasingly difficult to come to terms with this pivotal moment in time.

One of the industries that continues to feel the brunt of the Covid-19 effects is, of course, the performance arts, whose livelihood depends largely on crowds of people coming to watch performers do their thing.

On the weekend of 19-21 February, South African theatre-makers and dancers, gathering in Stellenbosch for the Take-a-STAND Dialogues, engaged in a series of discussions about the present and future status of theatre and dance in South Africa. Presented by SU Woordfees and STAND (Sustaining Theatre and Dance) foundation, the dialogues were an attempt to rekindle, at least partly, a community that has been splintered in the last year.

One of the topics revolved around the importance of comedy and satire and the state of it today. Perhaps it seems impossible, and irresponsible to laugh in times like these.

Yet, we do. And we need to.

This begs the...

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