Soli Philander’s ‘Nice Coat, showing at the Baxter Theatre, until this Saturday, July 29, is about – as he puts it – HIS Cape Town.
Born out of a desire for a narrative about Cape Town – the place of his birth, his youth, his heart – that didn’t serve a political agenda, wasn’t an exercise in attracting tourists, and did not disregard the daily, stark realities so many Capetonians in surviving have to embrace.
Fueled by the desire not to defend or deflect accusations leveled at The Mother City – her detractors on the inside and out – or wallow in the praise and pride from those enamoured by her, but rather to provide another view, another “take”, another conversation about the place he calls home, and his experience of it.
Philander is adamant about the unique “sound” of Cape Town – “there is a rhythm to it, a beat” – that he maintains is the essence of “being Capetonian”. In his observations about, his criticism of, his tribute to the place he calls home, he plays with word and intonation, idiom and phrase, rhyme and reason, to engage mind, memory and emotion in a delicately-humoured, hour-long rhyme.
When asked “why?” about the rhyme, Philander responds: “I didn’t realize for a long time that the instinctive love I have for rhyming is cultural – from the games we made up as children, the secret languages we invented as teens, the delightful playing with words of the hawkers, and even organized crime’s penchant for inventing new words or new meanings for existing ones”
Book at Computicket.