Journey of Knysna Literary Fest

The Incredible Journey was told by three actors who took the children on a magical adventure of song, dance and imagination. From left are actors, Stefan Arasmus, Emma Kotze and Carllum Tilbury. Photos: Nwabisa Pondoyi

KNYSNA NEWS - The first event of the eighth Knysna Literary Festival kicked off on March 16, with a children’s theatre production that focused on bullying.
Called The Incredible Journey, this theatre production was exactly that for the children who attended.
The play, held at the Knysna Primary School, was a product of KBT Productions who have performed overseas, in Cape Town and at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
The Incredible Journey explored themes of bullying, but also the importance of reading and heroism. The story was told by three actors who took the children on a magical adventure of song, dance and imagination - and also kept them captured for 40 minutes.
The protagonist of the play is Tommy, a typical schoolboy. He lives an average life, has loving parents, is well mannered and at school he is experiencing his first crush.
The sudden arrival of a new pupil in his class marks the start of Tommy's life-changing journey. Tommy and the new guy do not see eye-to-eye and there is conflict between them. Tommy finds himself between a rock and a hard place, despondent and alone. He has all but given up hope and as a last attempt goes to the only place he knows where he will find answers - the library.
Tommy desperately searches through all the books he has ever read and comes across a book he has never seen before, entitled The Incredible Journey. As he examines the foreign cover he begins to hear a strange sound coming from the book.
Tommy anxiously peels open the book unaware of the magic that awaits him.
Stefan Erasmus who is the writer, director and plays various parts in the play said: “When I wrote the play I wanted to tell a story about bullying using ‘book knowledge’ firstly because I feel like the topic is not covered enough and that with social media these days more and more people are losing interest in actually reading a book. I wanted to restore the power of books in a fun way, but also tell a compelling story.”
One of the actors Emma Kotze said, “This is my favourite medium and I love the story. Sometimes people worry about captivating the children for the entire duration of the play because of their attention span, but no one should ever underestimate children and when you’re true and honest to your story you can capture anyone’s attention for as long as you need to.”
Playing the hero was Carllum Tilbury who said, “I love telling stories in a comic book style and this particular play has a lot of wonder and my character was a child and that is what made it so much fun.”
He said if there was anything the children took from away the play then he hopes it is the confidence to face up to bullies: “That would be first prize, but I hope they had fun,” said Tilbury.
After watching the play 11-year-old Curtline Jansen from Fraaisig Primary School said, “I really enjoyed the play and I have learnt not to be rude to my peers.”
Okuhle Mbola a 13-year-old from Concordia High School said she found the play very interesting and she learnt that violence was not necessary when standing up to bullies.
A 12-year-old from Rheenendal Primary School, Nastou Jansen, said the play taught him about bravery.
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