Thursday, 30 October 2008

Market Laboratory Theatre

30 / 10 / 8
Yesterday morning, we met with the Market Laboratory Theatre in Johannesburg and they agreed to host a presentation / performance on the 23rd of November. This is good news, especially I think for me, as I look forward to developing a piece of rough theatre for this presentation. It will certainly be a work in progress, but it will be nice to begin to compose some work for the stage.
I think that it will be two fold: a presentation on our findings and how they will shape the play and then a performance of selected verbatim interviews and chosen texts. Nothing fancy and quite rough, but it is my hope that the Shakespearian text and the stories of the men will be powerful enough to ‘mask’ any roughness.

After meeting with them, we had a whirlwind tour of central Jo’burg thanks to a very friendly Sowetian. We were searching for an Mobile phone shop as we had lost our first SIM card in the post and were needing to replace it or ‘swap’ it in South African lingo. So, we asked at the first shop in Newtown, but had no luck. Except of the fact that Emanuel was exceeding kind and offered to take us to the nearest Vodacom shop. Nearest….. like ‘nearest’ in ‘merica terms, no London terms. In other words, a good half hour walk from where we were. So, off we set, quickly cutting through the teeming streets of Jo’burg on our hunt for the shop. We had several false sightings which raised hopes, a couple of dead-ends but finally arrived at our destination at Carton Centre’s Vodacom shop. Went in, asked for a ‘SIM Swap,’ they said ‘yes’ they can do that but, ‘unfortunately’ their computers were down. FOILED!!

So back we went towards Park Train Station as that is where I knew there was another shop. Through the heaving markets, glancing back at David to make sure he was still there, jumping and jiving and getting thoroughly turned around. Or, at least David & I were, Emanuel knew these streets like he knew ‘the back of his hands.’

Past the Johannesburg Supreme Court – I asked him who the imposing statue was in front of it which served a shade for pedestrians & a landing spot for pigeons. He laughed and had no idea who this old bearded white man was.

We passed what I thought was another Vodacom shop so I asked David & Emanuel to stop just to see if they could do a ‘SIM Swap.’ Nope, THEY couldn’t, but if you just bought a new SIM card, you could do it over the phone. No worries. Though it would cost me ten rand. A bargin, as the other place, if their system had been running would have charged me sixty rand. So, I purchased my third SIM card of our short trip, but having little faith that I really COULD do it on my own and wanting to try my luck one last time. So,

To the train station & third Vodacom shop of the day only to find out that we ‘should have been there in the early morning as they had run out of swaps (whatever that meant….).’

After quickly cursing the gods for our rotten fate, we settled down, licked our wounds and had a Coke at the ‘Chicken Shack’ fast food joint. I dutifully followed the instructions on my new SIM card package, dialled ‘173’ and spoke to an operator who said, ‘yes’ it is possible, just give me your other phone number that you want to use. So, I said, ‘07661507986.’
She asked me to repeat it so I said, ‘07661507986.’
‘Erm,’ she said, ‘that has 11 numbers.’
‘Yes, it does’ I replied.
‘How can it have 11 numbers?’ she asked.
After scrunching up my brow, wondering what in the world she meant, I found out that phone numbers here only have 10 digits and I must have written the lost number down wrong (and spent £30 on printing fancy ‘Robben Island Bible’ business cards with said number on it).

So, once again, we cursed the gods at our cruel cruel fate and finished our Coke.

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