It is not often that I become full of hope and excitement for the ‘youth of today’, but last night was one of those moments.
Big Friendly and I are in Knysna, visiting our friends Jaci and Gys de Villiers. Gys wrote a play called Groen Ghoen, which Jaci directed, and, here it gets complicated, Gys is performing it as a one man show, and Jaci directed seven of her school learners in a version of it for their school play at Oakhill School.
I went with Jaci and some of her students on their Europe tour in December last year, so I have a connection to some of them. I was delighted when our visit coincided with their short run. So, off Big Friendly and went up the hill to the school to watch the show last night.
I confess, I was definitely thinking I was going to have to be really generous with the production; a bunch of school kids, doing their school play, but from the very moment it started, with the first ‘kaching’ sound effect, to the last ‘love generation’ moment I was delighted and captivated.
This is a complex, highly message driven piece, with many characters, lots and lots of ideas, humour, irony, history, imagination, and challenging questions about how we are treating our precious planet. And the cast of seven were completely up for it. All dressed in green throughout, and with the minimum of props they jump in and gooi. They all played beautifully together as a well knit ensemble and each and every one of them had a moment to shine. I loved Pheliswa Dayimani as Mother Earth, Nicholas Heymans as Triton, Jo-li Kotze’s Kugel hairdresser and Dylan Owen’s camp cook. Stephen Campbell’s very Seff Effrican Atlas, Katherine Clark’s brilliant Camilla and Lara Meter’s disgusting Red Horseman of the Appocolypse were also fabulous. And that is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Speaking of icebergs, how could I not mention Nick and Stephen’s hilarious polar bear scene?
These young people created an exciting, fast paced, moving piece, filled with energy, enthusiasm and commitment. Bravo.