Program note

The struggle to be

by Basil Jones
for »Life & Times of Michael K«
What is autonomy? What is an autonomous human being? Self-activating, independent, fully in charge of oneself?

John Coetzee is a writer whose greatness lies at least partially in his ability to powerfully and poetically express the essence of what it is and what it means to be an independent being in the world or a being independent of the world.

Michael K is one such individual. He is someone who experiences his person as being radically separated from and independent of people and events.  

He is a free soul – but finds himself being serially imprisoned. So how appropriate, then, that he should be represented by a puppet.

The puppet is the living prosthesis of the human. Dead, but living. Apart, but part of.

Michael’s consuming struggle is the struggle for the independence of being, but also in contrast, the need to belong - if only to the land and the landscape. Is the quest for autonomy a chimera?

Creating Michael K and presenting his life has led us into the very heart of what puppets are, what they can and can’t do. We have taken risks and challenged some of the ‘principles of puppetry’ that we’ve developed over the course of our career. 

What is the relationship between the self and it’s prosthesis? To what extent does the puppet’s life reside in its manipulators? Can the manipulator speak for the puppet but not be physically connected to it?  How can a puppet – an object so obviously controlled by a others – become a symbol of independence? All questions that are exciting to be entertaining as we celebrate Handspring’s 40th year as a company.

Lara Foot and Handspring Puppet Company:
Life & Times of Michael K
17.06.21, 18:00 - 21:15
Schauspielhaus, Große Bühne
First release , Live broadcast from Cape Town

Festival opening: Live broadcast from Cape Town.

17.06.21, 19:00 - 21:15
First release , Livestream , Live broadcast from Cape Town
18.06.21, 16:00 - 23:59
Video on demand
18.06.21, 19:00 - 20:45
Schauspielhaus, Große Bühne