A Feast in Time of Plague

"A Feast in Time of Plague" explores the artistic responses of state-funded theatre-makers to the apartheid regime in South Africa. The film tells the story of the freethinking individuals who worked in the Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB) between 1970 and 1990, and the mischievous and innovative ways they challenged segregation, censorship, and the actions of the apartheid government.

  • Amber Fox-Martin
    Director
  • Philip Theron
    Director
  • Amber Fox-Martin
    Writer
  • Amber Fox-Martin
    Producer
  • Stellenbosch University
    Producer
  • Marthinus Basson
    Key Cast
  • Pieter Fourie
    Key Cast
  • Pieter-Dirk Uys
    Key Cast
  • Johan Esterhuizen
    Key Cast
  • Albert Maritz
    Additional Cast
  • Royston Stoffels
    Additional Cast
  • Liz Dick
    Additional Cast
  • Marina Albertyn
    Additional Cast
  • Mike van Graan
    Additional Cast
  • Percy Tucker
    Additional Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Theatre, Avant-Garde
  • Runtime:
    37 minutes 35 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    South Africa
  • Country of Filming:
    South Africa
  • Language:
    Afrikaans, English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Stellenbosch University
  • Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival
    Cape Town
    South Africa
    August 20, 2020
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Garden Route International Film Festival

    South Africa
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Amber Fox-Martin, Philip Theron

Amber Fox-Martin is a historian, researcher and stage manager. Amber studied at Stellenbosch University, where she graduated cum laude in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in drama. She majored in stage management and theatre studies, as well as history, which she studied with intention of developing research in the field. She furthered her studies the following year by completing her honour's in history. Under the mentorship of Professor Vivian Bickford-Smith, Amber created her thesis documentary film, A Feast in Time of Plague, which earned a cum laude grading and is set to have its world premiere at the 22nd Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival in August 2020.

Apart from her own studies, Amber currently holds an ad-hoc lecturing post at the Stellenbosch University Drama Department, where she teaches sound and stage management. Due to COVID-19 and the university's switch to online teaching, Amber has subsequently developed various digital resources and tutorials for her students. Her teaching is largely based on her experience as a stage manager. Since 2017, she has worked as a freelancer in the entertainment industry in the capacity of venue technician, sound operator, venue manager, production manager, assistant stage manager and stage manager for various productions. Most notably, Amber has recently worked with the likes of Marthinus Basson and Janice Honeyman. In 2019, she was employed by the Adam Small Theatre Complex to work as a stage manager and administrative assistant. She has launched social media platforms for the new theatre and has documented many of the live events hosted there.

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Director Statement

'A Feast in Time of Plague' was inspired by the stories of South African theatre-maker Marthinus Basson, which Amber Fox-Martin heard in the rehearsal room, working as a stage manager on some of Basson’s recent productions. The structure, substance and style of the film was inspired both by the wealth of interesting stories shared by our interviewees, and the sense of mischief and playful provocation they brought to their work during a time of upheaval and great political stress.

The story of the film is told through a focus on key productions. It does not present a single painting, but a whole exhibition that creates its meaning through the juxtaposition and combination of various individual works. The film transcends its historical interest by relating to the current South African theatre industry, ending on a sequence where our interviewees reflect on contemporary theatre and offer opposing opinions on it. 'A Feast in Time of Plague' aims to tell an engaging story that thrills the audience, yet leaves them with something they can think about long after the credits stop rolling.