Recently I saw I Have Life: Alison’s Story, 20 Years On at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square. It’s the story ofAlison Botha who was brutally raped and disembowelled by two attackers in 1994 – and how she survived and triumphed. I was very impressed with Zak Hendrikz who plays the terrifying part of Frans du Toit the psychopathic rapist. He tweaked the golden thread of humanity in the audience that night and made us think. I knew it would take an exceptional actor to play that part, and I needed to chat with him. And he is really nice!
I’ve seen I Have Life, it was such an amazing experience. Unfortunately it’s nearly the end of the play (it ended on 30 August). I don’t know how you must have experienced doing it.
Well, for us it was quite a different process because we had five weeks rehearsals which is quite a lot of time to rehearse a play. Usually when you rehearse a play you are looking at three to four weeks maximum, but because it’s such a sensitive subject matter and because they had to redo the play from the book they had to rework it. The process was very different and we had to be very sensitive about how we were going to approach the play and subject matter and we had to try different avenues to see what is the best way of telling the story. The best way of portraying what we wanted to convey to the audience that would not distance them, and then also what is the best way for the actors to feel the most comfortable on stage.
I first heard South African tenor Timothy Moloi performing in an open air production of Shakespeare at the Johannesburg Zoo. His voice carried across to me at the back of the audience in that blustery, open terrain, and I knew that here was a talent I wanted to follow. So my excitement was great when I heard that Timothy was about to star as Aladdin at Joburg Theatre. I knew I had to see the show, and I was very happy when Timothy agreed to do an interview for this blog!
Born and raised in Orlando, Soweto; Timothy Moloi grew up in a home filled with song. It is this love for music, and his flair for infusing familiar and beloved standards with a new freshness, that has made him a favourite with audiences throughout South Africa. With his smooth-as-velvet voice and masterful range, Timothy is one of South Africa’s most extraordinary talents.
He returned to South Africa in 1999, having completed his studies at Ohio Wesleyan University in the USA. Since then Timothy has led a busy performance schedule, and has performed with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, the East Cape Philharmonic, the Electric Pops Orchestra, the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, the Johannesburg Big Band and the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Godfrey Johnson was born to be a musician. I saw him at The Old Mutual Theatre on the Square and sat enraptured and ENTERTAINED by a musician who is in a class above the run of the mill. It's an honour to feature him on my blog.
Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in Belgium and France initially, and later throughout the world. How did you come to take an interest in Brel and interpret him? Tell us about the preparation and performing of “The Shadow of Brel”.
I first heard the song "Seasons in The Sun" when I was a little boy and it definitely struck a chord. I remember feeling the sadness in the song. I didn't understand the layers but it still managed to resonate. I rediscovere Brel in high school and was hooked, the stories, the amazing music and emotional rawness stays continues to inspire me.
Gaynor Young is a name that will stand out to all lovers of South African theatre.
My parents were theatre lovers back in the 80s and as such we went to a lot of plays, in all the theatres in Johannesburg including the Alhambra, Market and Rex Garner. At these I was privileged to see many South African actors of the day including Gaynor Young - extra special to me because she is my namesake, and being a shy young girl it's nice to know that an accomplished actress also has your name! -
Our whole family was very saddened one day in 1989 when we heard of a terrible accident Gaynor had suffered falling down a lift shaft during one of her performances. It was touch and go as to whether she would survive and we listened to the radio daily for news of her condition. Survive she did, but she suffered brain damage and deafness.
She chats to us about her life and how she has managed to overcome adversity.