The Centre for the Less Good Idea Season 7

Apr 1 - Jun 30 2020       Arts on Main, 264 Fox St, Maboneng, City Centre
All six programmes of performances from Season 7 of Joburg's experimental arts space The Centre for the Less Good Idea at Arts on Main can be watched online on the official Centre for the Less Good Idea website and on their Vimeo pages.

Also keep watching their Facebook and Instagram pages for their daily One Long Minute series where artists from across South Africa and the world post a new minute-long artwork online, including everything from performance to animation, a fascinating and constantly evolving response to the pandemic and the global lockdown crisis.

Season 7 is co-curated by artist William Kentridge and multi-award-winning theatre-maker and director, Phala Ookeditse Phala. The central theme for this season is 'what of text?' with some performances, films and installations created by sixty participants that are based around texts by writers including Joseph Conrad, Ben Okri, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Antje Krog, Ferdinand Oyono and Franz Kafka. As with all seasons the emphasis is on finding new ways of thinking through the production of non-conformative works rather than creating conventional 90-minute pieces of theatre or static exhibitions.

Programme 1 (35min)

Africa My Africa A performance poem written and performed by Koleka Putuma that plays with the notion of presence and absence in writing while also casting a sideways glance at the enduring effects of rainbow nation-ism in contemporary South Africa.

Bogologolo Tala Physicality and expressive movement come together in a performance that presents the potential of the body in motion as a vehicle for narrative performed by Alfred Motlhapi, Elma Motloenya and Kaldi Makutike.

Umthandazo Directed by acclaimed actress Faniswa Yisa, this performance shifts the focus onto the lives of the women of Marikana, and the physical and emotional labour they contributed before and after the events of 16 August 2012.

Programme 2 (35min)

Odradek Costuming, projection, and live music and performance are used to tell the tale of the strange, lingering creature in Franz Kafka’s short story, The Cares of a Family Man, as performed by Ameera Patel and Frances Slabolepszy.

Mayakovsky: The Tragedy  A pared-down interpretation of the self-titled avant-garde verse drama by the Soviet playwright, poet, and actor Vladimir Mayakovsky. Conceptualised and directed by William Kentridge and performed by Katlego Letsholonyana.

Spactral A contemporary physical performance that further puzzles out time, language, and the dramatic form of the Shakespearean tragedy with text from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Programme 3 (35min)

Footnotes A performance that posits the beginnings of the world and of humanity, while also maintaining the body’s role as a generator of text, performed by Vusi Mdoyi, Thabo Rapoo, Micca Manganye and Volley Nchabeleng.

The pigeon Existentialism and anxiety abound in an adapted version of German writer Patrick Süskind’s novel by the same name. Adapted and performed by Antony Coleman, Sue Pam-Grant, Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Kevin Smith.

Programme 4 (45min)

Tea & Bae A two-hander that favours intimate choreography over the spoken word in order to explore storytelling as a form of bonding and intimacy. Conceptualised, directed and performed by Molebogeng Phiri and Kaldi Makutike.

A Hunger Artist This performance takes its lead from Franz Kafka’s short story by the same name and employs live recital, performance, and music as a means of further exploring the author’s text through the realms of the stage. Directed by William Kentridge and performed by Michael Mazibuko. 

Panther Following on from the preceding performance, “Panther” makes use of the Vimba stage, live projection, recital, music, and physical theatre to present a performed version of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem detailing a captured panther behind bars. Directed by William Kentridge, performed by Teresa Phuti Mojela and with poetry recital by Sello Ramolahloane.

Go Down Moses An adaptation of George C.Wolfe’s ‘Git on Board’ sketch from his 1986 play “The Colored Museum” which merges global history with South African musicality and frames of reference to present a sobering, contemporary take on the classic sketch. Directed by Faniswa Yisa.

Programme 5 (35min)

Move A solo performance which employs physicality, dance, music, and cinematography to explore themes of masculinity, femininity, discomfort, conflict, vulnerability and more through the male body. Conceptualised and performed by Nhlanhla Mahlangu. 

Sounds of Limpopo A two-man musical performance which sees the use of instruments and bodies alike being used to both replicate and pay tribute to the myriad sounds and narratives of South Africa’s northernmost province. Conceptualised and performed by Micca Manganye and Volley Nchabeleng.

BONUS Programme

Metamorphosis Through the use of mirrored and manipulated footage, and responsive vocal components, this installation conceputalised by Bronwyn Lace explores the themes of physicality, interpretation, and animality.

Witness A video installation which harnesses puppetry, materiality, and physicality in order to explore how figures perform in a space, and how we go about viewing that performance. Conceptualised by William Kentridge with cinematography by Duško Marović SASC and video editing and compositing by Žana Marović.

The Library of Babel Taking the story by Jorge Luis Borges as a thought experiment, this installation explores the nature of The Algorithm as creator: A collection of surreal texts, completely written by AI, plays out as a contemporary realization of the Library of Babel.

Beyond the Pale Meditations drawing on Homi K Bhabha’s: Art of Multicultural Translation.

About the Centre for the Less Good Idea

Founded by world-renowned South African artist William Kentridge, The Centre for the Less Good Idea is one of Joburg's most exciting new cultural projects of recent years. The 'centre' is hosted at Kentridge's expansive artist studio in the Arts on Main building in Maboneng. A non-commercial collaborative space, it brings together artists, musicians, poets, dancers, actors and filmmakers who all work in the city of Joburg. The Centre for the Less Good Idea's aim is to support experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts projects and give artists the breathing space to try out new things.

The 'less good idea' is explained thus by its founders; "Often, you start with a good idea. It might seem crystal clear at first, but when you take it to the proverbial drawing board, cracks and fissures emerge in its surface, and they cannot be ignored. It is in following the secondary ideas, those less good ideas coined to address the first idea’s cracks, that the Centre nurtures, arguing that in the act of playing with an idea, you can recognise those things you didn’t know in advance but knew somewhere inside you."

For each new 'season' at the centre a new cast of collaborators is assembled to produce a brand new series of performances that stretches out over several days.

View the full programme online at



Apr 1 2020 - Jun 30 2020
The Centre for the Less Good Idea
Arts on Main, 264 Fox St, Maboneng, City Centre
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