After claiming ‘King of the Mic’ at the WordNSound Poetry League, with a poem extracted from the project Metropolar, showing this coming Saturday at the Market Theatre Laboratory. Modise says his nerves haven’t begun to kick in YET.
Metropolar is a collaborative assignment depicting life in Johannesburg’s CBD. Captured in song, poetry, film and art.
Co-produced by Modise Sekgothe : Spoken Word Artist, Actor and Playwright Jotam Schoeman : Sketch artist, visual artist, film-making student and musician
We journey into the mind of the poet to find out what motivated this concept.
What inspired the tile ‘Metrolpolar’ and how does this title tie into your performance? The title was inspired by the contrasting realities that co-exist within the city. It was mostly from the irony of Maboneng’s juxtaposition to Jeppestown. We found a great irony in the amount of poverty and all else that is embodied by Jeppestown and how it stands right opposite the posh Maboneng Arts Precinct. Our aim then was to capture both these realities as best as we could, not necessarily focused on the two areas specifically, but perhaps mostly on the characters within these areas and the characters within the many other distinct areas within the CBD. We had the word Metropolis and Polarity and Lerato landed on Metropolar as a combination of the two.
What motivated the concept for this project and how did you come to work with Jotam Schoeman? I came to work with Jotam through Writers On Main, he was working on a project and living at the Rubix Cube as a resident. He came to grow fond of my work and I his. It was a great surprise that he was a musician, so we rode on that and I got the opportunity to experiment with vocals and adding harmonies to my poetry, which I’ve always been very interested in doing. This concept was initially inspired by an art exhibition that Jotam Schoeman was working on called “Bedoelende Stad Studies”. Jotam introduced the idea of our creating a performance piece for this and I challenged myself to explore the topic. He was sourcing from his experience of the city, which was periodical, as he is from Pretoria. I sourced from my own then-new experience of residing in the Johannesburg CBD. We found our vision aligning and went with it where it was leading us really.
Who is Jotam Schoeman and when he isn’t collaborating with you, how can we access his work? Jotam Schoeman is a Pretorian based sketch artist, visual artist, film-making student and musician. To find out more about his work you can link up with him on Facebook as Jotam Schoeman.
How does this show differ from your previous performances? Lol…this performance differs from my previous performances in a few ways. Firstly, I always use music that I find resonates with me and my work but the music is often borrowed. This time around the music is created originally by Jotam solely for my work who will be playing it live as I recite.
Secondly, song and harmonies have been extracted from the poems creating somewhat of a chorus for some of the pieces. I will myself be singing these along with Jotam. Also, there were times when I borrowed visuals from the internet to, once again, complement my work. This time the visuals were created specifically for this project. All in all, this will be an entirely organic and holistic performance. Do you think poets are collaborating enough across various art disciplines? Not particularly, but I think the eagerness is there. It’s clear in how we’re using so many other media as part of our performances. I think at the moment it’s just a matter of the relationships establishing between poets and the other kinds of artists. I think it’s just a matter of us not having access to animators, film-makers, musicians, etc. And at times it’s the resources that lack, but some amazing things are happening, and those things will birth more.
Do your poetry performances borrow from your theatre (Acting) experience? Yes, indeed. Theatre taught me that performance is a craft in itself, separate from the writing. So I make it a point to focus on strengthening both aspects of spoken word art.
Don’t miss the perfect view of the city of Gold, captured in rhyme, music and illustrations R60 get’s you into the Market Theatre Laboratory This Saturday 13 June 14h30