Kabaret in Suid-Afrika : kabarett of cabaret?

Van der Merwe, Grethe Elizabeth (2010-03)

Thesis (MDram (Drama))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Various theoretists and artists have tried to describe, to define and categorise the form of art that we roughly refer to as ‘cabaret’ in an attempt to answer the question: “What exactly is ‘cabaret’”? Many are of the opinion that cabaret cannot be defined; others feel that to define cabaret, is to limit this free-form genre, and by doing so will turn it into something it is not. This debate unavoidably leads to confusion or a misconception of what cabaret is and leads to the genre being moulded into a fixed form contrary to its nature. Since its conception in France in the late nineteenth century, cabaret has acquired many faces, and today in South Africa, many kilometres from its cradle, it is still in a process of development. For the purpose of this study I want to make use of the two basic terms used to refer to cabaret: ‘cabaret’ and ‘kabarett’. These terms refer respectively to cabaret as a form of literary entertainment or one of socio-political commentary. These categories were introduced by Kurt Tucholsky in its formatory years in Germany. By applying these terms, I want to establish whether cabaret in South Africa is alive and well, which form it has adopted, and whether one can speak of ‘pure’ cabaret. In Chapter 2 I will explore the roots of cabaret as a form of art, offer reasons for its rise and trace its development in countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA and England. With this as background, I will in Chapter 3 attempt to indicate some guidelines for the genre without restricting it in any way, in order to explore the origin and development of what can be labelled as cabaret in South Africa in Chapter 4 and trace its development as well as evaluate current productions. Finally, I will attempt to answer the question as to whether cabaret in South Africa can be viewed as ‘cabaret’ or ‘kabarett’.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verskeie teoretici en kunstenaars het al gepoog om die genre, kabaret, te omskryf, te definieer en in verskeie kategorieë te plaas in ’n poging om die vraag: “Wat is kabaret?” te beantwoord. Baie is van mening dat kabaret nie gedefinieer kan word nie, ander sien kabaret weer as ’n vry-veranderende genre en voel dus dat ’n definisie dit sal inperk en dwing om iets te wees wat dit nie is nie. Uiteraard veroorsaak hierdie sienswyses baie verwarring en word kabaret dan tog soms verkeerdelik omskryf en in boksies waar dit nie hoort nie, geplaas. Kabaret is ’n kunsvorm wat sedert sy vormingsjare aan die einde van die negentiende eeu in Frankryk al vele vorme aangeneem het en vandag, hier te lande, baie kilometers van sy beginpunt af, steeds aan die ontwikkel is. Ek wil dus in hierdie studie gebruik maak van die twee eenvoudigste terme waarmee daar na kabaret verwys word: ‘cabaret’ en ‘kabarett’. Hierdie terme verwys onderskeidelik na kabaret enersyds as ‘n literêre vorm van vermaak of, andersyds, as ‘n medium vir die lewering van sosio-politiese kommentaar. Hierdie kategorieë is deur Kurt Tucholsky gebruik om die verskillende vorms van kabaret te omskryf reeds in die vroeë vormingsjare daarvan as kunsvorm in Duitsland. Só wil ek poog om vas te stel of kabaret wel in Suid-Afrika ‘lewend’ is, watter vorm dit aanneem en hoe suiwer dit is. In Hoofstuk 2 ondersoek ek die wortels van kabaret en probeer ek vasstel hoe die kunsvorm sedert sy ontstaan ontwikkel het in Frankryk, Duitsland, Nederland, Amerika en Engeland. Met die kennis van waar kabaret vandaan kom, hoekom dit ontstaan het en wat die vorme is wat dit al aangeneem het as agtergrond, poog ek dan in Hoofstuk 3 om min of meer riglyne aan die genre te gee, sonder om dit in te perk, ten einde my bespreking in Hoofstuk 4 te kan voltooi waarin ek kyk na die geskiedenis van kabaret in Suid-Afrika, asook die ontwikkeling daarvan tot en met die aanbieding van produksies waarna ons vandag as ‘kabaret’ verwys. Ten slotte wil ek bepaal of dit wat ons in Suid-Afrika ‘kabaret’ noem, in der waarheid kabarett of cabaret is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4100
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