Ouroboros is a production about time, relationship and the cycles of life, created with evocative, multimedia imagery. At its heart, it is a love story between a dancer and a poet finding the courage to commit. Using the uniquely transforming powers of the puppetry medium, the two central characters appear as several versions of themselves. Audiences witness the unfolding drama of their lives from birth to death. Their interactions form a web of relationships, revealing the interdependence of the past, present and future.

The production is inspired by the work of US Poet Laureate Billy Collins; whose work Aristotle underpins the narrative. Predominantly wordless, Ouroboros explores the internal dynamics of relationship through the interactions of the puppet characters, shadow imagery and animated projections.

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“shadow puppetry, puppets, voice-overs, sound clips and projections are masterfully combined to create a world which is fantastical and yet manages to hold up a mirror to human vulnerability and mortality. The piece manages to convey deep emotions despite the fact that the characters never say a word. We consider language as our primary means of communication, but this production, in which the characters never speak, represents a primal piece of story-telling that defies description.” The Cape Critics 2011

“The production draws on the rare talent of the members of Handspring Puppet Company, with performers visible throughout. The “magic” effect of the movement of the puppets is developed with breathtaking mimicry, independently of the manipulators, and is complimented by their presence. The expressivity and intensity of their performance and of their handling brings soul and meaning to each action. We live all the adventures as if they are happening to us!…Ouroboros, the ancient symbol representing the repetitive cycle of life places at the forefront the courage of the characters seen at three stages of life. African animals and the valuable use of shadow theatre carry the public, gently into the thoughts, dreams and fears of Andre and Nokobonisa: the heart that escapes and is offered, an evocation of death taking the loved old woman, fish flying over the family bed and though the Styx….To suffer, to love, to age and to start all over again.” Par Irina Schrag, Poly Magazine Nov ‘13

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Producer: Janni Younge in association with Handspring Puppet Company
Director: Janni Younge with Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones
Creation and design: Janni Younge
Music: Neo Muyanga with additional music by Daniel Eppel
Sound design: Daniel Eppel
Choreography: Mamela Nyamza
Lighting design: Mannie Manim

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Jason Potgieter, Cindy Mkaza, Gabriel Marchand, Tali Cervati, Beren Belknap and Chuma Sopotela with Nieke Lombard on shadows


Winner: best puppet design Fleur du Cap.
Nominated for best sound design and best lighting.
Selected to represent the France-South Africa Season 2013