Playing the Market

The Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Revised and updated edition


The relationship between Johannesburg’s Market Theatre and the economic and political forces of South Africa's apartheid regime was both complex and somewhat ambiguous. The theatre's two founders, Mannie Manim and Barney Simon, however, from idealistic beginnings managed to steer their experimental enterprise around pitfalls ranging from censorship, boycotts and recuperation by big business to the difficulties encountered in finding black authors, let alone black audiences.
If the place occupied by the Market institution in apartheid society is emphasized throughout the present study, its contribution to the aesthetic of resistance is also underlined through detailed criticism of the plays and authors dominating the theatre. Pieter-Dirk Uys, Barney Simon's workshop plays and, among others, Black Consciousness plays are subjected to various methods of theatre performance analysis. The reckoning that had to come in the early 1990s revealed itself as globally positive; the reasons for this may be found in the updated concluding part of Playing the Market, which is composed of more general essays (including one on the vibrant Junction Avenue Theatre Company) on how the theatre scene in contemporary South Africa started to change. A postscript reveals more specific aspects of the Market situation in the late 1990s when its hegemony in the New South Africa was already being questioned.

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Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgements List of Figures INTRODUCTION 1 Mannie Manim, the Performing Arts Councils and the commercial scene in Johannesburg in 1974 2 Spaces and sites I FOUNDATIONS 3 The road to the Market 4 The foundation of the Market.. 5 ... and the Market Foundation II THE NEW SOUTH AFRICAN THEATRE – ANALYSES 6 The choices when Paradise is Closing Down 7 Born in the RSA as a shaping force 8 New concepts of drama: From white conscientization to Bopha! 9 Associations with the Market: Umongikazi and You strike the woman, You strike the Rock III THE MARKET AND THE ENVIRONMENT OF CULTURAL STRUGGLE 10 The Market and the voice of the black majority in 1980 11 Developments at home and abroad in 1986 12 The reckoning at the end of the first decade IV THE GRANITE EDIFICE CRUMBLES Preliminary note 13 Critics, culture-brokers and the theatre in 1990 14 Drama for a new society? Targeting the spectator in the early 1990s 15 The body of change and the changing body in the plays of Junction Avenue Theatre Company POSTSCRIPT Works cited Bibliography Index

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