William Kentridge’s work draws on South African culture and history as well as classical influences. He plunges his audience into a multi-sensory experience combining theatre, dance, music, film, drawing and animation. His show Sibyl is presented at Châtelet in Paris.
Kentridge used his art to oppose apartheid and since the birth of the Rainbow Nation has continued to work with artists from different backgrounds. Sibyl is in five South African languages: English, Ndebele, Sesotho, Xhosa and Zulu (surtitled in French.)
It’s an evening of two parts. First, a silent animated film, The Moment Has Gone, part of his Soho Eckstein series. Kentridge uses an unusual animation style, drawing in charcoal, rubbing out and beginning again. The film is accompanied by piano and South African male-voice choir.
This is followed by a chamber opera, Waiting for the Sibyl. For this, Kentridge took inspiration from the myth of the Sibyl of Cumae, who was said to answer people's questions about their future with prophecies written on oak leaves. She left the leaves piled outside the cave where she lived, and Kentridge imagines the wind whirling the leaves into the air, and the worshippers not knowing which prophecy is theirs.
You can read Kentridge describing creating the piece on his website.
William Kentridge: Sibyl
Théâtre du Châtelet
11-15 February 2023