Commissioned and Produced by The Center For The Less Good Idea
Johannesburg, South Africa, February 2019
Impulsive and unabating, our drive to escape and move forward is unrelenting. Starting with great conviction and intensity, the stimuli, motivation, and intention mutate in the journey. Borrowing its title from fiction, the McGuffin - is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or another motivator that a narrative pursues, often with little or no explanations nor rationale - it is this drive that is of subject here.
McGuffin is a sculptural interpretation of the cinematographic chase scene into a high-action interdisciplinary performance. In its elaborate scenic design movements transforms the sets and props so that the three performers serve as human-operators of a performative-kinetic-sculpture. McGuffin uses architecture, strict choreography, and video projection in order to subvert the spatial syntaxes of both theatrical and cinematographic spaces and the hierarchies they embody.
Garbage trucks, tunnels, helicopters, a carwash, -- all portrayed by mundane objects and exaggerated photocopies -- are material subjects that the performers encounter and become as they negotiate the presentation's shifts of mediums, scale, and dimensionality. Despite the manifested exhaustion and frustration in their sometimes dire attempts to keep up with the chase’s fragile systems, radical new alternative and drivers unfold.
McGuffin challenges the values and consequences of these motivations by combining the functions of the objects with the desire to escape and transcend them. What contorted relationships evolve as we tour the chase’s numerous thresholds and how can we let go of the attempts to unlock the purpose of it all.
Created and Directed by Deville Cohen
Performers: Thulani Chauke, Tushrik Fredericks, Nonku Phiri
Composer / Sound designer: Dion Monti
Videographer and Projection Mapper: Noah Cohen
Dramaturge: Thireshen Govender
Light designer: Oliver Hauser
McGuffin has received generous support from The Artis Grant Program. This work was produced with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund.
Special Thanks to Frances Goodman and William Kentridge.