Last night we went to a glittering affair at the Jan van Riebeek Hoerskool. It was the presentation of their school plays (three of them) and a three course meal in between. On arrival we were greeted with a civil little sherry and we entered the very posh school hall and sat at tables, beautifully decked out with blomme and everything. It was a bit like being at a bar mitzvah, except everyone was Afrikaans instead of Jewish.
How I got there was I had done a favour for a friend of mine’s son. He was involved with the sound for two of the productions and I had recorded the voice of the puppet for one of their shows; a cross between Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma and Evita Besuidenhout, who speaks bad Afrikaans with a black accent. When I recorded the stuff I had no clue what I was doing, but seeing it on stage was hilarious. That was the first play, performed by the grade 8 and 9’s and it was brilliant. The next two were less successful (and harder to follow, although it is worth mentioning that I’d had more than a wee dram of red wine), but the plays were secondary to what impressed me about the whole thing.
There I was, surrounded by parents who had paid R150 a ticket for the evening and who were entirely devoted to the support of their children, who were making theatre. I was unbelievably impressed with a school who could put together three well made, well rehearsed and well designed plays. And I was blown away by the commitment and enthusiasm (and a few examples of amazing talent) of the kids themselves.
I left with a great sense of hope that theatre could really be happening in this country. Yay. Bravo and thanks to all involved.