Animal Farm at the National Arts Festival in South Africa

Seven decades have passed since the first publication of Orwell’s Animal Farm, yet the plight of Manor Farm and its animal denizens is ever relevant in contemporary South Africa. The story persistently transports the audience into the complex realities of not only the rise of the Soviet Union, and the power, propaganda and political corruption that was embodied in Stalin and Trotsky; but as the world has changed, Animal Farm continues to “clairvoyantly” predict the emergence and decline of corrupt and oppressive leaders around the world. In our daily lives we continue to see the clash of Napoleon and Snowball repeated. We cringe at the ‘Squealer’ spin-doctors, the oppressed ‘suffragette’ chickens, the gallant goats and sigh at the demise of loyal earnest citizens embodied by the exploitation of the hard working horse ‘Boxer’.

The fiery energy that exists between the all women cast is palpable, and offers a fresh approach to critically examining patriarchal and deeply masculine political systems, and forms of storytelling. The entire production – save for Coppen and choreographer Daniel Buckland – is run by women, including the producers, stage manager and lighting designer. Animal Farm reflects histories that are inherently patriarchal and oppressive, yet this version is no longer told by men, but fully embodied by women.

After several five star reviews, sold out shows and standing ovations and two Naledi Theatre Awards, Animal Farm is a not to be missed show.

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One thought on “Animal Farm at the National Arts Festival in South Africa

  1. The U.S. Jesuit magazine America had a nice mention of the play. Could the Society journal have a more detailed article about the play and its reception? perhaps an interview with the director? and the actors? I suggest that the play’s poster could be a cover for a future issue or maybe a photo of the cast?


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