The programme made it sound so exciting, a tribute production, celebrating the life and work of acclaimed poet Ingrid Jonker, pictured below.
Jonker lived and worked mainly in Afrikaans, so I wasn’t too shocked to find the work was in Afrikaans, a language with which I am comfortable. There were people there, however, who would not have chosen to see the work had they known it was in Afrikaans.
The three actresses directed by Ester van der Walt were Maude Sandham, Megan van Wyk and Nina Erasmus.
I was promised a look at Jonker through the lens of mother, girlfriend, mistress, lover, daughter and woman unattached. What I got was an incoherent mishmash of three characters and some of Jonker’s poetry, an altogether unsatisfying thing, albeit with some lovely theatrical moments.
Ingrid Jonker (1933 – 1965) is shrouded in mystique and I was hoping to learn more about her. I am not sure what the work intended to achieve, but it left me knowing no more about Jonker, either as speculation or as fact, and most importantly, I left not knowing anything more about her as an artist.
This has been the single most disappointing work of the first week of the 969 Festival at Wits Theatre curated by Gita Pather. This festival runs until 24 July 2016 and there is another performance of Ingrid should you wish to see it for its theatrical moments and to make up your own mind as to its merits.