South Africa’s Isango Ensemble Returns October 1, 2019
Isango brought Krannert Center audiences joyfully to their feet in 2014, and the company returns to the Center on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, with its vibrant and comedic turn on Aesop’s Fables, which has been hailed as a “stroke of genius . . . a beautiful modern African aesthetic . . . a seamless piece of unique theatre” by South Africa’s Sunday Times. Based on a brilliant script from playwright Peter Terson, the expressive tale portrays the ancient Greek story of a servant on a journey to Mount Olympus, contextualized in the recent history of South Africa and sung in English, Tswana, and Zulu. Audiences can travel with Aesop as he encounters a host of colorful animal characters, such as the tortoise and the hare, and learns the balance of liberty and responsibility in this contemporary, playfully energetic, and beautifully rendered music, theatre, and dance production that is “a joy throughout” (Evening Standard, London). This public performance is recommended for ages 5 and up and compliments the Center’s daytime Youth Series performances for schoolchildren on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 1 and 2.
Isango Ensemble is a South African theatre company that draws its artists mainly from the townships surrounding Cape Town. Founded in 2000, Isango’s stage productions and films have played to sold-out audiences across the globe, receiving numerous international awards, including Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear Award for Best Film, Paris’ Best Opera Globes de Cristal, London’s Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, and San Francisco Black Film Festival’s Best World Cinema title, among others. Isango Ensemble reimagines classics from the Western theatre canon, creating new work and adaptations within a South African context. The company’s structure embraces artists at all stages of their creative development allowing senior artists to lead and contribute towards the growth of rising talents.
Outside of South Africa, Isango Ensemble has performed in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and across the United States. The group has partnered with The Global Fund, raising funds to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria as epidemics—directly impacting programs in countries most in need.
Tickets are available online, by calling 217.333.6280 (800.KCPATIX), or in-person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 South Goodwin Ave., Urbana, Illinois. Single tickets are $30 / Senior $25 / Student $15 / UI Student and Youth $10. Group and series discounts are available.