(c) Ursula Kaufmann
Thu 9 Aug Sun 12 Aug
Music Theatre / Dance / Visual Arts

The Head & The Load

William Kentridge, Philip Miller, Thuthuka Sibisi, Gregory Maqoma, The Knights
9 Aug
12 Aug

“The head and the load are a trouble for the neck”, is a traditional Ghanaian proverb that William Kentridge has borrowed for the title of his latest work: a visual, musical and choreographic examination of Africa’s role in the First World War.

Over 2 million people from the African continent – most of them forced to work as bearers of weapons and materials for the colonial powers – went away to this European war. William Kentridge investigates this neglected and barely researched chapter in European and African history in a work of music theatre that is both installation and performance. The artist brings together a new composition by Philip Miller, the New York orchestral collective The Knights, an international company of performers, dancers and singers, a chorus of mechanical gramophones, overlapping film projections and shadow puppetry in a gigantic procession that defies all generic classification and could not be shown in a traditional theatre space.

From the date of his earliest animated films and drawings the Johannesburg-born artist William Kentridge has confronted unjust social and ethnic conflicts in both South Africa and Europe. Apartheid and the consequences of apartheid, together with more general colonialism, racism and totalitarianism have been and still are his themes, both in the visual arts and in his theatre and opera work. The upset caused by underlying social and ethnic injustice is a painful driver behind the personal lyrical visualization that Kentridge achieves in drawings, sculptures, films, installations, theatre and opera.

Kentridge’s works have been exhibited in museums and exhibitions on every continent. He has taken part in the Venice Biennale and documenta in Kassel on numerous occasions. The Head and the Load in the Kraftzentrale in Duisburg is the first time that this world-famous artist has been represented in the programme of the Ruhrtriennale.




More at this location:
Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

Sculpture, song, shadow play; William Kentridge’s performance work about Africans in the First World War is an electrifying collage of imagery and ideas.

The Independent, Zoë Anderson

Further Information

Introduction 45 minutes prior to show

Artist talk 10th of August after the performance

Commissioned by Ruhrtriennale, Park Avenue Armory and 14—18 NOW, the UK’s arts program for the First World War Centenary. With additional support from the Holland Festival and with kind assistance of Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma. Produced by THE OFFICE performing arts + film in association with Quaternaire. Developed at MASS MoCA, North Adams, 2018, and Kentridge Studios, Johannesburg 2017-2018.

Language information: English, French, Italian, Shangaan, Shona, Zulu, Pedi, Xhosa, Wolof, Madinga and Swahili with German Translations


Concept, Direction William Kentridge
Composer Philip Miller
Musical direction Thuthuka Sibisi
Projection Design Catherine Meyburgh
Choreography Gregory Maqoma
Costume Design Greta Goiris
Stage Design Sabine Theunissen
Light Design Urs Schönebaum
Sound Mark Grey
Video Editing and Compositing Janus Fouché Žana Marović
Associate Director Luc De Wit
Technischer Leiter Ateliers Chris Waldo de Wet
Video Orchestration Kim Gunning
Cinematography Duško Marović
Orchestration Michael P. Atkinson
Created with and performed by Platzhalter
With Mncedisi Shabangu Hamilton Dhlamini Nhlanhla Mahlangu
Featured Vocalist & Performers Joanna Dudley Ann Masina Bham Ntabeni Sipho Seroto N'faly Kouyate (kora) Tlale Makhene (percussion) Vincenzo Pasquariello (piano)
Dancer Julia Zenzie Burnham Thulani Chauke Xolani Dlamini
Ensemble Vocalists Mhlaba Buthelezi Ayanda Eleki Grace Magubane Blaise Malaba Ncokwane Lydia Manyama Caroline Modiba Tshegofatso Moeng Mapule Moloi Lindokuhle Thabede
The Knights Sam Budish (Percussion) Logan Coale (Bass) Christina Courtin Samuel Ewens Mario Gotoh Nicolas Jones Andy Kershaw (Tuba) Nathan Koci Alex Sopp (Flute) Jon Stokes (Trombone) Caitlin Sullivan