Conceived and scored by Steve Dyer, this is an interesting work – a “new musical”. I saw it at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre, on Saturday 21 November 2015. I wasn’t given a programme, so I only know a few of the main creators from reading about this work on Facebook (good reports which made me want to see the work). I apologise for the paucity of credits to and for musicians and dancers. Colour Me Human is directed by Makaolo Ndebele and choreographed by Sonia Radebe.
The costumes and props are by Noluthando Lobese. I loved the set, and think that may have been hers as well, although it may have been Willem Disbergen’s – he did the lighting. The only problem was the dressing room light behind the gauze was distracting. A dark screen in front of the dressing room door would have prevented this from being seen by the audience.
The work is exceptionally clever. It goes back to prehistory and traces the development of Homo sapiens in such a charming way that one cannot help but smile.
On the night I attended there was a technical problem and it started 25 minutes late which may have impacted on the fact that I thought that at 95 minutes the work was too long. The climax of the work is about an hour into the work and it is in the scene where the “colour” song is sung by Steve Dyer (with particularly powerful lighting effects on the dancers here). Thereafter everything else felt self-indulgent and, in my opinion needs tight editing. There were some very beautiful moments in the last third of the production, not least of which was a powerful and moving conclusion. The cutting should start with all vocal items without dance, except perhaps the “under one sky” song. However, even some of the dance items failed to add significantly to the narrative of humanity which was unfolding.
The power of this piece is that it says so much, mostly without words. It touched my heart and I recommend that people see this.
Colour Me Human will be on at The Fringe, Joburg Theatre, until 29 November 2015.
All photos by Madoda Mkobeni.