WHAT REMAINS, a play in one act, with notes on the choreography by Jay Pather

: Davids (N.)

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47pp., illus., paperback, Johannesburg, 2019


A fusion of text, dance and movement that tells a story about the unexpected uncovering of a slave burial ground in Cape Town. Loosely based on the events at Prestwich Place in Sea Point where in 2003 construction activities uncovered human bones. What Remains won five Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards in 2018, including Best New South African Play (Nadia Davids) and Best Director (Jay Pather).

"What Remains is destined to become a South African classic. Nadia Davids’s transformative play digs up bones and reaches for the sacred. It dramatises the timeless dance between memory and ‘progress’ in a way that is also a fierce critique of the present moment. Like the best drama, it is universal because Davids roots it so precisely in the experience of her time – post-apartheid South Africa – and place: her beloved Cape Town. – Mark Gevisser, author of Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A memoir

"What Remains excavates a tragic history, mining beauty, no less than poetry, from a slave burial ground. This heart-breaking dance on the page, cries out to be performed. With Pather’s choreographic notes, it promises to be a triumph." Zoë Wicomb, Emeritus Professor at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Nadia Davids is the author of the award-winning plays At Her Feet and Cissie and the novel An Imperfect Blessing. She is Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town.
Jay Pather is Director of the Institute for Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town and Associate Professor in UCT's Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies.