There is such a thing as magic | Theatre Review

“Ouroboros is worth every sold out house. It is worth the thunder of applause and the whisper of breathless admiration” @lena_ski post premiere

Is it any wonder that Tony saw this and marveled … not really…

Driving home after the premiere (on autopilot) I replayed the entire show in my head. Let me tell you something, it’s one of those that deserves to be seen more than twice. It’s really really nice!

The lights dim and the selected cluster of people erupt into laughter… They most probably thought they were to old of puppets – but they still rsvp’d with a yes – so they should really bite their tounge. A rather appropriate thought given the history of the Ouroboros. I must admit never having seen a hand-string production I was a little more than just curious to see what wonders would meet my senses. I still find it hard to describe….

This is not the best frame of mind to be in when you’re asked for a review… so let me take one last sigh and scoop myself back to the real world and dust off the magic, myths, and enchantments which I leave to you to discover. This is a story, a secret, a gem that deserved to be shared.

I beg you to fight the urge to roll your eyes, or sniffle in laughter, or gloat in the superiority of your adult context. This play is looking for you and you owe it to yourself to check it out … or prove me wrong… which I think you might struggle with…

The Ouroboros (or Uroborus)  is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. It comes from the Greek words oura (Greek ουρά) meaning “tail” and bόros (Greek βόρος) meaning “eating”, thus “he who eats the tail”.The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end (the mythical phoenix has a similar symbolism). It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting before any beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. The ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus. It is also often associated with Gnosticism, and Hermeticism. Carl Jung interpreted the Ouroboros as having an archetypal significance to the human psyche.The Jungian psychologist Erich Neumann writes of it as a representation of the pre-ego “dawn state”, depicting the undifferentiated infancy experience of both mankind and the individual child.

Fitting really!

Having worked in theatrical worlds, filled with all the drama, creation, and labour, I have such a deep appreciation for this production. Yes they make it look really easy, but the meticulous attention to details is a sign of pure devotion. I could just see endless cups of coffee steaming over to cold in the hands of the production team who stared with cocked heads and strained eyes feeling every thread of the story.

The acting (yes acting) felt natural and true. At times you lost the crowd of people who manipulated the puppets and could have sworn the puppet was crying real tears…. The continuity was in every little detail.

Every puppet breathed.

Every puppet had its own personality, its own mannerism, its own agenda., its own core…

This was reflected in the echo of every expression the actors invested into creating this world. One of the actors (pictured at the top) in particular went out of his way and took the journey to heart that he gave a new energy to the performance.

Athough there was not a single string of stage the puppets tugged away at the audience leaving them breathless and grounded in their own experience. For that moment every prop, every puppet, every actor and every observer found that long detached umbilical cord and snuggled into its comfort. And the magic was carried in the music. The goosebump-enducing music that constantly stumps me.Neo, you are a genius and a legend in the making… Honestly! Honoured to know you and think back to Grahamstown 2010.

There’s so much I want to say but I stumble over my thoughts … and I am reminded of the line “this is the middle this is where things get complicated”. I feel it. I feel my thoughts all 50 000 of them spinning with moments I want to share with you … but I really know I should pull back… and let you uncover it for yourself.

So but your ticket. Take a friend. Dive in to the deepest place and burning questions of your heart, your mind, and soul…

I’ll even give you the ticket link.How’s that for love?

“Ouroboros is worth every sold out house. It is worth the thunder of applause and the whisper of breathless admiration”


Full respect to :


Created and designed by Janni Younge

Directed by Janni Younge

Music: Neo Muyanga (with appreciation!)

Choreography:  Mamela Nyamza

Poetic text: Aristotle by Billy Collins

Cast: Jason Potgieter, Cindy Mkaza, Gabriel Marchand, Tali Cervati, Beren Belknap and Alude Mahali

Shadow manipulation: Zandile Bekwa

Wardrobe: Hillette Stapelberg

Lighting design:  Daniel Galloway

Animation:  Micheal Clark

Studio Assistants:  Amanda Ganca, Sandile Qagana, Maggie Winston and Daya Heller

Set construction:  Gavin Younge

Puppet furniture construction: Matthew Rademeyer

Backdrop painting: Yolandi van Jaarsveldt

Mentors: Janice Honeyman (directing) Illka Lowe (set & costumes)

Stage Manager:  Jessica McCarthy (hollymolly Jess – Good for you!!!)

Technical Operator: Jade Bowers


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