"Art should be made with passion and joy", Jonathan Keevy

Urban Craft magazine's own Godfrey Johnson (GJ) interviewed the marvelous Jonathan Keevy (JK) recently. Below is how the brief but i...


Urban Craft magazine's own Godfrey Johnson (GJ) interviewed the marvelous Jonathan Keevy (JK) recently. Below is how the brief but insightful conversation, in which we get a true sense of what makes this talented art practitioner tick, went down.
GJ: I have known you for a good couple of years and I am a huge fan of your work. When were you first bitten by the bug of creativity?

JK: I think you have it backwards, everyone starts off creative and playing in imaginary worlds as kids. Gradually we're pressured into being more sensible and to channel our imagination into 'productive' activities; so I wouldn't say the bug ever bit me. I would say I never became sensible.

GJ: Where are you from?

JK: I was raised in Elgin, on a beautiful little apple farm in the Valley. It was an idyllic place covered in fynbos and hiding frog-haunted creeks.

GJ: You are a multi talented guy who designs, directs, performs, writes and lord knows what else? Where do you feel most comfortable?

JK: Thanks, I'm blushing. I love writing. It's at once a solitary endeavor and a crowded place, you sit alone and listen to a hundred characters get themselves in and out of trouble.

GJ. Please name a few of your favourite writers.

JK. I think I'm going to put my own twist on this if you don't mind, Godfrey. My favorite local contemporary writers: in prose I'm a big fan of Lauren Beukes, Mandisi Nkomo, and Nadia Davids - who crosses over to dominate playwrighting too, and speaking of... Louis Viljoen, Amy Jephta, Nico Scheepers, Koleka Putuma (incredible poet too), and Frankie Nassimbeni - whose plays are peculiar and whimsical and poetic. Unfortunately there isn't nearly enough support for young playwrights (despite some champions like Robin Malan) and I really think the younger generation needs more opportunities and money. Too many voices are lost because there's no space to listen.

GJ: You directed me in “Stories of Crime and Passion”. I found you to be calm and kind, what is the secret to your patience?

JK: I used to have a lot of anger and it never did any good. It never got anything done faster and it never made the work better. All it did was poison the experience for everyone. Art should be made with passion and joy.

GJ: What are you currently working on?

JK: I've just finished 'Anthology: Clean Break' - a platform for short plays at Alexander Bar. Next up we're doing 'Dirty Words' - the sexiest sketch comedy about language and filth you'll find in Cape Town. Beyond that I'll be working again with Free Lives, the same studio that created 'Genital Jousting' - my weirdest and proudest achievement.

GJ: Where can one find more information about you and your projects?

JK: I keep a website for my sins: www.jonkeevy.com

GJ: How is married life treating you?

JK: My wife Suzanne is the most wonderful, kind and passionate person. Together we work in harmony and I feel fearless. It's sublime having someone on your side no matter what.

GJ: Remember the laundromat that you and Sanjin Muftic would miraculously convert into a theatre every night?  I loved every minute of that time and it turned into a successful performance space.  It was a playful time. What do you say to those who don’t believe that you can make magic anywhere?

JK: I'd say, 'try' - it's that simple. Failure doesn't matter as long as you learn something, as long as you pushed your self. It's easy to be sensible and fixate on the obstacles, but there are three things you should never be afraid of: starting over, looking foolish, and cold water.
 

Images courtesy of Nardus Engelbrecht, Tiffany Schultz
(In one of the images, Jonathan appears with Dirty Words actors, Sanda Shandu and Maggie Gericke)

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Urban Craft Magazine: "Art should be made with passion and joy", Jonathan Keevy
"Art should be made with passion and joy", Jonathan Keevy
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