Brewery Youth Theatre performing "Little Foot"
Discovered in South Africa in 1994, "Little Foot" is known as the fossilised skeleton of an early form of hominids which is thought to be between 4.1 million and 3.3 million years old.
The remains of "Little Foot" were found at the Cradle of Humankind, a world heritage site northwest of Johannesburg. A remarkable discovery, "Little Foot" was thought to have fallen into a cave from which he was never able to get out of, and he is considered one of the most ancient human ancestors ever to have been discovered.
Now, the story of "Little Foot" is making its way to the South African stage, after already having found success in a UK tour. The play, written by South African playwright Craig Higginson, was commissioned by London’s National Theatre as part of its 2012 Connections Festival and will be enjoying its next staged performance by the Johannesburg Market Theatre as part of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
"Out of sheer coincidence, the production will be released at the same time that Little Foot's remains will finally be freed from the rock," Market Theatre's marketing manager, Lusanda Zokufa said
"It has taken 13 years to extract the hominin's calcified bones, using brushes and dentists' drills."
The play is set in the Cradle of Humankind where a group of university students are enjoying a reunion party before a practical joke turns into a far more serious affair.
"As the students delve deeper into the caves - and we travel ever deeper into their psyches and their shared histories - a chorus of ancient hominins steps through the walls of the caves," Zokufa said
"Not only does the audience come to a deeper understanding of their common ancestry, but the play powerfully illustrates how the best and worst of us has its roots in the ancient past."
The Grahamstown and Johannesburg production is directed by Malcolm Purkey, who has previously worked with the play’s writer, Higginson, on plays such as "Dream of the Dog" and "The Girl in the Yellow Dress" both of which were originally produced by the Market Theatre.
The play will also allow audiences to see the design skills of 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year winner Neil Coppen in action. Coppen has designed a set for the production which focuses heavily on the use of screens, which help to create not only different spaces and surfaces, but are also used as video projections and shadow puppetry within the play.
"In both content and form, this promises to be a unique piece of storytelling that will redefine the boundaries of contemporary South African theatre," Zokufa said