Archive for November, 2008


Claremont Dramatic Society Newsletter

P O BOX 37569, VALYLAND, 7978
Tel 021 785 2466 (h)  083 301 0808 (c)
Fax 021 785 3419    Email   infomo@infomotion.co.za


No 76                                                        NOVEMBER 2008


 Hi Folks


The Hok is looking quite spiffing after the makeover. Curtains have been hung over the parking area windows, shelves have been installed to show off our collection of hats, from formal toppers to confections to make our mothers’ hearts green with envy!  And all in see-through plastic bags – what an inspired thought, thanks to Jill Cooke.  Our library has been culled, thanks to Nava who applied her mind and skills in a quiet corner. Our archiviste, Kim sorted through mountains of paper; Riaan Hunter proved to be a capable pair of hands, wielding an angle grinder with streams of sparks; Wendy Goddard exercised her oversight and organisational skills; Sheila Inglis had a wonderful time sorting through costumes (your scribe is in the process of preparing a list to ensure easy access for future productions)  The ‘dustbusting’ team of Jennifer Moss and Kim Harris-Dalla plied vacuum cleaners with vigour – quite tiring to watch!  Simon Sutton rearranged the gallery, among a plethora of activities; he is also responsible for the makeover of the front door, which looks good.  Simon  Dutton worked on a pull-out storage unit which showed signs of decrepitude and then, as Victualler-in-Chief, retired to a shady spot and proved to be a very good braaier – most delicious ‘wors and kebabs and the team relaxed and enjoyed the food and company in a perfect setting.  The next major change will be to the bar.  The Society is most grateful to the team for their efforts.


And a gem of a ‘crit’ from Simon Sutton:


‘A tremendous thanks to all of you for attending this historic performance. Fine renditions were presented by each every player and the execution, both technically and artistically was of the highest standard. Simon Dutton’s use of his extensive arsenal of tools was masterful and his handling of the braai tongs was reminiscent of Benjamin Britten. Jen Moss on the vacuum cleaner was absolutely enchanting and Riaan’s curtain rails took him to even greater heights. Jill’s prompting from the wings could not be faulted; such sensitivity in this challenging role is rare. The Belknap duo was a pleasure to behold; I have seldom seen such accomplished dust-dabbing by anyone except, perhaps, in Madam and Eve, and the way the corrugated hat shelves (sic) were handled was awe inspiring. And our Maid of all work, Elza-Lynne, beavering away between frantic ADT calls, the “Mayor’s Office” and relieving us of unwanted tuxes for biblical lexicographers.  Nava! Nava turned in as accomplished a display of bookkeeping as any aspirant professional I have come across in years. As regards Kim’s finely tuned choreographic bending and stretching in the minstrel gallery, tossing bags of fabric and then………..curtains. Props and costumes: Well, Sheila’s attention to detail would have discombobulated the best at La Scala or the Albert Hall. The panache and finesse of her rearrangements were quite unique. And Wendy. Never has one experience the thrill of Stage Management to such a degree. Absolute poetry in motion with seamless flying in and out; everything positively glid. 


All in all, a production worthy of a Brenda Gray award any day.  Well done! ‘




A final reminder about our Christmas party this Sunday at Simon Sutton’s House, 2 Russell Close, Constantia, at 5pm.  


Please bring a long a plate of eats. There will be braai facilities for the carnivores and don’t forget your favourite tipple (beverage). 


Those who wish to do a little entertaining, be it a song, story, rhyme, dance need to book their slot.  Kim will co-ordinate them so there is a variety of variety. Please contact Kim Harris-Dalla on 083 355 7050.  We would like to finalise the line-up soon, so please give Kim a ring before the 28th ( this Friday).




The good news is that we fielded four teams – surely this is a record?  The ‘bad’ news is that because one of our teams won, the Golden Duck has returned to Claremont.  And it’s all Jill Cooke’s fault for knowing that a camel hair paintbrush is made of squirrel hair!  Congratulations to the rest of the team too – Richard Farmer, Wendy Goddard and Cindy Nixon (who kindly filled in at the last minute.  Thanks Cindy)


We have already booked the Masque as the venue for next year – so get out those spanking new diaries and make a note that you will be spending the evening of Sunday 22 November 2009 at the Masque




Brenda and her team did the Society and the Masque proud with yet another magnificent production.  Isn’t it wonderful to see standing ovations and the ‘House Full’ sign?  Thank you and well done to all those involved with this superb piece of theatre.



Sue Bolton will be directing David Hare’s The Breath of Life for Claremont in our first slot next year. There will be a special Gala Performance on Saturday 10 January at 18:15 for the Masque’s 50th Birthday, with a celebration afterwards.  If you would like to be involved with the show backstage, please give Sue a ring on 021 786 2565.  She will be delighted to hear from you.  We are also looking for people to help with Front-of-House and Box Office, and would really appreciate it if you’d give Wendy Goddard a call on 021 671 2888. 



Some of you may not know that Roy Oldfield is in ICU at Vincent Palotti hospital with a twisted bowel, of which some section has turned gangrenous.  That latest news is that he is off the ventilator, is cheerful and on the mend.  He asked June Wells to pass on the message that all the emails and cards have meant so much to him. Some were read out to him while he was still unable to move much; others he was able to read himself as he improved. He said he’s already torturing the staff with his one-liners!


Roy, we wish you a speedy recovery, and look forward to our turn at being the recipient of your torture again soon!


Wedding bells have been tolling:  Our heartiest felicitations to Norman Rasmussen and Caroline Hartley who recently tied the knot; as well as to Christina Dimopoulos.  Mazel Tov!


Ruth Allsopp, who has been a member for 39 years(!), has recently had a hip op.  We wish you well, Ruth, and look forward to seeing you on the hip-hop again.


One of our newer members, Carin Bester, is running a Holiday Acting Workshop, and would like to invite members, friends and families to sign up:


Creative Art Solutions:  Holiday Acting Workshop


Have you always wanted to be an actor, presenter or just want to improve your self-confidence and public-speaking skills?  Then this is for you!


We provide quality training in the areas of theatre- and film acting.  The training is presented in the form of interactive workshops.  We discuss and tutor topics such as:

  • Theatre and Film Acting,
  • Voice Training and Public Speaking,
  • Movement (How to utilize your body on stage and in front of camera),
  • Creativity,
  • Self Confidence,
  • Preparation for Castings (improving success rate of kids already attending castings)

This is a great opportunity as you will be exposed to a talent scout and may be chosen to join an agency and start working in our fast growing Media industry.  This workshop is suitable for anyone and no previous experience needed.


If you would like to attend the workshop, please book your place before the day of the workshop by e-mailing your Name, Age and School to info@creativeartsolutions.co.za, or by phoning 084 529 0384.  You can also download an entry form or enter online at book.creativeartsoloutions.co.za.  Places are limited to don’t hesitate.


Venue:             Paul Bothner (upstairs venue), Richmond Centre, Main Road, Plumstead

Date:               8-10 Dec 2008 (for school learners only), or

11-13 Dec (for school learners only)

Time:              10:00-16:00

Cost:               R600 (Lunch, snacks and beverages included)




Playbill Productions presents A Night at the Opera with Georges Bizet’s Operatic Masterpiece, CARMEN.


The opera will be staged by award-winning director Teddy Davies and conducted by Victor Tichart, leading a musical ensemble playing his score, especially orchestrated for this production. The opera is abridged and adapted from the original masterpiece into a concise two-act version (which will be sung in English) without losing any of the glorious and popular Bizet operatic highlights and vibrant gypsy choreography or the tragic love story. This will be the world premiere of this new adaptation using an experienced young cast of postgraduate singers now making their mark on the professional stage.


Margaret Hill is co-ordinating the production and (together with Tichart) has adapted the score.


GALA OPENING “DRESS-UP” NIGHT:     Wednesday 4th February 2009 @ 20h15

Tickets: R110 (includes wine & snacks)

Fri 6th, Sat 7th, Sun 8th, Tue 10th, Thur 12th, Fri 13th, Sat 14th February 2009

Weeknights 20h15, Saturday 14h15 & 18h15, Sunday 15h00.

Tickets: Thursday evening and matinees: R60 (R50 Theatre Club members)

All other evenings R70 (R60 members). Bookings at 021 788 1898



27 November – 6 December: Masque Theatre.  Beautiful Noise. Music of the late 1960s/early ‘70s conceived and directed by Cecil Jakins for Fish Hoek Dramatic Society. A musical trip down memory lane with hits songs from the late 1960s and early ‘70s by such artists as the Carpenters, Abba, Paul Simon and the Bee Gees. Fabulous music, fabulous costumes and wonderful singing! Normal times & prices.

28 November – 13 December:  Milnerton Playhouse.  Aladdin, directed by Sheila McCormick.  Bookings:  contact Sheila on 021 557 3206 / 082 267 1061 or email her at macdram@absamail.co.za


30 November:  5pm – 2 Russell Close, Constantia.  CDS Christmas Party.  Phone Kim on 083 355 7050 with details of your party piece.


30 November:  2pm – Milnerton Playhouse.  Audition for a production of Special Occasions by Bernard Slade.  Director Yvonne Copley. This is a two-hander (male and female). Production dates 20-28th March 2009. For further details please contact Yvonne on 083 441 9937.

12 – 13 December: Masque Theatre – The Glenn Robertson Band. A veritable jazz smorgasbord for music lovers.  Friday 20:15, Saturday 16:00 and 20:15 (N.B. different times)


17 – 20 December:  Masque Theatre. For Generations written and performed by Kurt Egelhof, directed by Nic Fine.  Back by popular demand! Don’t miss it this time (or, even better, see it again.) Week nights 20:15 and Saturday 15:00 and 19:30 (NB different times)


09 – 17 January 2009:  Masque Theatre. The Breath of Life by Sir David Hare directed by Sue Bolton Special Gala Performance on Saturday 10 January at 18:15 for the Masque Birthday with celebration afterwards Tickets R75 (R65 for Theatre Club members).  All other shows – normal times & prices.


TAILPIECE:  Letter to Bank Manager

Dear Sirs,

In view of current developments in the banking market, if one of my cheques is returned marked “insufficient funds”, does that refer to me or to you?

Yours faithfully…






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Hello there dear friends! It seems like ages since we last chatted and I must thank Eve Carr for a wonderful newsletter last month. It was great reading someone else’s lines for a change.  Thanks Eve

Isn’t it fabulous having summer here at last? It is just a pity it always comes with the wind. I have taken to putting the sprinklers on the lawn for awhile before I leave for work and how I wish I had the time to stroll around with the hose and water everything manually. By the time I return home in the afternoon, the wind is HOWLING – one inevitably gets more wet than the ruddy plants!! Still we mustn’t complain I suppose. At least it is glorious in the mornings and it seems to calm down in the late evening.

Enough of this ‘weather’ talk and down to business.

MEMBERS’ EVENING: Monday 1st December 2008

If you haven’t already booked, I am sure there is still time to phone birga Thomas and get your name on the list. There was some confusion with the term dinner-dance. Let me reiterate: It will be a MVDS Birthday Bash/Christmas Members’ Evening, with dinner thrown in and music (Gary’s lovely mix), a chance to meet old friends and reminisce about old times and get excited about new times! There is a dance floor at Fogey’s – so anyone who has the inclination may indulge. However, we have booked the entire place to ourselves for the occasion and it should be a fabulous evening.

We are looking to YOU to provide the entertainment in the form of anecdotes from the Society’s 30 years in existence.  Anything you remember from the past, be it funny or sentimental. Please advise birga if you would like to add to the fun.


MVDS had two teams for this fun event and a great time was had by all. The ambience was lovely as was the food. The questions were varied and interesting with some real stinkers,  but we really didn’t disgrace ourselves!! The ‘good’ news is that the Golden Duck trophy was awarded to Claremont which means that, for the first time in quite a few years, the event will be held at the Masque next year and the long trip to Milnerton will be avoided! Hopefully we will see more of you there when the time comes around.

 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: Tuesday 20 January 2009

You would have by now received the first notice regarding our Annual General Meeting at the Madhouse, Promenade Road, Lakeside 19:30 for 20:00. Any proposed amendments to the constitution must reach birga not later than 8 December.   May I appeal to all current TROPHY holders to make an effort to return them timeously – either at our December Members’ Evening/Birthday Bash (December 1st) or drop them off at the Masque.


This extremely funny farce was a great hit with the audiences and such fun to be involved with.  A happy cast and crew (and Director) went a long way to ensuring that the laughter out front was repeated throughout the run backstage! Well done Alaister Duff, cast and crew on a job well done!!!


“All you need is Love” directed by Celia Musikanth and Coleen van Staden

This very successful show has been revamped with some new and exciting players. Rehearsals are in full swing and judging from what I have heard, promises to be even bigger and better than before. Production opens at the Masque in April.



Beautiful Noise” Music of the late 1960s/early ’70s conceived and directed by Cecil Jakins for Fish Hoek Dramatic Society. A musical trip down memory lane with hits songs from the late 1960s and early ’70s by such artists as the Carpenters, Abba, Paul Simon and the Bee Gees. Fabulous music, fabulous costumes and wonderful singing!

From Thursday 27th  November to Saturday 6th December. Normal times and prices.

 12 – 13 December – Masque Theatre – Another treat from Grahamstown Festival:

 “The Glenn Robertson Band”. Book now for this popular band which provides a veritable jazz smorgasbord for music lovers. Great talent, wonderful choice of numbers and total relaxation is assured. Such all-time favourites as “Ain’t no sunshine”, “I’ve got you under my skin”, “Just the two of us” and very much more are included in the programme.

Friday 20:15, Saturday 16:00 and 20:15 (N.B. different times!!)

 Wednesday 17 – Saturday 20 December – Masque Theatre

 “For Generations” .(another Grahamstown Festival gem!)

written and performed by Kurt Egelhof directed by Nic Fine

There were standing ovations when Kurt performed in October this year – so make sure you catch his rerun. Kurt shares with his exquisite dramatic story-telling, a hilarious, touching, joyous celebration of defeat and victory, pain and joy (as he performs the defining moments from the life of his war-veteran grandfather) through all four generations till today. Don’t miss it this time (or, even better, see it again.) Week nights 20:15 and Saturday 15:00 and 19:30 (NB different times)

09 – 17 January 2009 – Masque Theatre

Claremont Dramatic Society presents “The Breath of Life” by Sir David Hare directed by Sue Bolton. This play was specifically written for Judy Dench and Maggie Smit and earned rave reviews when it opened on the West End.  The story takes place on the Isle of Wight where an ex-mistress is visited by the ex-wife of Martin, a charming lawyer who has left them both to go and live with a young woman in America! The roles are played by two very experienced actresses viz. Yvonne Copley and Sue Cunningham. Special Gala Performance on Saturday 10 January at 18:15 for the Masque Birthday with celebration afterwards Tickets R75 (R65 for Theatre Club members). (See below)

 Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 January – Masque Theatre

“It’s a Swing Thing“. Fresh off the stages of the Western Cape’s most elite functions and parties, talented performers Ricky Botsis and Graeme Watkins open at the Masque with their new show “It’s a swing thing”.  Old time favourites such as Bobby Darren, Ella Fitzgerald and most notably the infamous Rat Pack are revisited by these young charismatic performers with great numbers including “Me and my Shadow”, “Mack the knife”, “New York New York” and much more.
Week nights 20:15 and Saturday 14:15 and 18:15


We were all sad to hear about the passing of John McConnell’s father on the 19th October. Our thoughts are with you, John, during this sad time.


We are coming to the end of the MVDS 30th year but next year it all starts again when the Masque Theatre celebrates its 50th Anniversary on the 10th January next year. This birth date coincides with Claremont’s production of “The Breath of Life” directed by Sue Bolton, which is a pretty apt title, don’t you think? (Details above) Of course the celebration will continue all the year so keep your eyes peeled for further details.


This year the awards will be held closer to home. More details to follow regarding this prestigious event for the Amateur Theatre Oscars!


During the course of 2008, MVDS had three productions all with large casts and crews. In total more than 80 people have been involved in one way or another, on stage, behind stage and up in the sound and lighting box!!! This is an amazing achievement don’t you think? I do believe MVDS can be justifiably proud of themselves.  Well done, us!


As most of you know, David recently returned from an exciting visit to Cameroon to present  his “Snake Magic” at the Festival of the Arts & Theatre or young People & Children in French. Here is an extract of his account of his adventure:

As we drew nearer the road  became so bad we offered to get out and walk so that the bottom of the car would be able to pass over the potholes etc. After a few of these kind of stops including getting lost once or twice we came across ‘Summer Time” The sign read SAMARRITAINE. Ah well, that’s French for you.

 What a stunning place. A driveway led to what seemed like one of those amazing  hotel/lodges one finds in the bushveld only we were in the jungle with large leaved trees soaring hundreds of metres skywards, whose trunks resembled the bottom half of those space shuttles one sees taking off from Cape Canaveral, muscular fins pushing down into the rich red earth. They seemed alive as we stood in awe photographing and hugging them. But this lodge had not been completed. It was as if the builder had run out of money and all construction has ceased. A sort of ruin before its time. Wierd! 

Around it, or rather through it, ran a small stream which the builder/architect had incorporated into the building, making little pools in which swam many little fish who nibbled away at the half eaten cassamang; remember those cassamangs? (- anyone know what a casamang is? Cross between a mango and a pawpaw but the size of a small mango but this time the pip has spikes on it so one cannot venture too far with teeth and lips as one sucks and eats casamangs.)At one stage I thought they were those pariahs one finds in the jungle and kept a safe distance from the edge of the water; you know how theatrical imaginations can wander.

We wandered off up a hill following a path which was completed covered over by thick foliage, similar to what you see in the movies. Complete with the buzz of mosquitoes  – fortunately my baggage had arrived by this time and we were able to apply our R70 container of mossie wipes – I recommend them for those not willing to take malaria tablets – butterflies,  tame nogal for quite a few fluttered up to us some even settling on a shoulder or two; and their markings; here I am sorry I lost my camera. Thank God for there always being a positive for every negative. We were able to breathe to sigh, to understand perhaps.

Of course just when we thought we had done everything Etoundi let us know that we had one more performance on the day we were due to leave, Friday. And in a different venue: the Cameroon Cultural Centre, which turned out to be more run down than the French one. About four lights, seats which were sadly needing repair, backstage, which was occupied by folk who seemed to have no idea that during the run of SNAKE MAGIC, SNAKE MAGIC owned the space and walked around without respect as it were, was almost fully visible from the auditorium. Of course by this time we realised how blessed we were to have theatres like we do in Cape Town and we merely took a deep breath, did some warmup excercises and voila! We regaled our audience and to our delight they were very responsive and seemed to understand every word. We were one of the few who performed in English others like the Koreans, the Swedes, the Swiss, the French all performed in their native languages. Of course being children’s theatre there was much mime and physical theatrics to woo the young audiences who ranged from about three to thirteen. 

Thinking back on our trip I ask myself whether I would do it again. Yes of course, without a doubt.  The life, the hum, the street vendors the colours, the energy, watching a space being cleared so that a few men can get down on their knees to thank God for being alive amidst the poverty, the corruption, the weather, the seemingly hopelessness of it all; when one realises that every day from eight in the morning to ten in the evening all some folk do is try ad sell the made in China bric a brac so that they can buy something to eat, something to drink something to put a smile on their faces makes SNAKE MAGIC  all the more meaningful. Yes, I would return tomorrow especially if I knew that the theatre I was participating in will uplift souls similar to ones we encountered on this trip.

 It was wonderful, interesting, exciting, connecting, awful, depressing, stressful, invigorating and educational.  South Africa is still the best especially when the shower heads are higher than one’s head. Well most shower heads in SA that is. 

What an experience it must have been! Thanks for sharing, David.


A very Happy Birthday to all our members who celebrate their birthdays this month and December. Hope your day is filled with love and happiness and that the year ahead will be filled with the same!!!!!!!!


23        Karen Riley – a belated Happy Birthday


9          Sandy Alexander (1920) To our much loved lifetime member Sandy – Happy 88th  from all of us!!!

19        Rick Magnin

26        Luke Luies


2          Jane De Sousa

17        Melanie Horn

27        Andre Thomas

28        Jane Baard

31        Tracey Cahill

            Beverley Webster




Audition for a production of “Special Occasions” by Bernard Slade – Director Yvonne Copley. This is a two-hander (male and female). Time 14:00 at the Playhouse. Production dates 20-28th March 2009. For further details please contact Yvonne  (083 441 9937).

NEW MEMBER:        to Adrian Chellew. I hope your stay with us is a long and happy one.

A Little Chuckle

A lady goes to the bar on a cruise ship and orders a Scotch with two drops of water. As the bartender gives her the drink she says,

‘I’m on this cruise to celebrate my 80th birthday and it’s today…’

The bartender says, ‘Well, since it’s your birthday, I’ll buy you a drink In fact, this one is on me.’

As the woman finishes her drink, the woman to her right says, ‘I would like to buy you a drink, too.’

The old woman says, ‘Thank you. Bartender, I want a Scotch with two drops of water.’

‘Coming up,’ says the bartender.

As she finishes that drink, the man to her left says, ‘I would like to buy you one, too.’

The old woman says, ‘Thank you. Bartender, I want another Scotch with two drops of water.’

‘Coming ri ght up,’ the bartender says. As he gives her the drink, he says, ‘Ma’am, I’m dying of curiosity. Why the Scotch with only two drops of water?’

The old woman replies, ‘Sonny, when you’re my age, you’ve learned how to hold your liquor. Holding your water, however, is a whole other issue!!’


Audition “Special Occasion”          Milnerton Playhouse                        30 Nov.

“Beautiful Noise”                             Masque Theatre                   27 Nov-6 Dec.

Birthday Dinner Bash                      Fogey’s, Muizenberg           1 Dec.

The Glenn Robertson Band         Masque                                  12 & 13 Dec.

“For Generations”                           Masque                                  17-20 Dec.

“The Breath of Life”                      Masque                                  9 – 17 Jan.

AGM                                                    Madhouse                              20 Jan.

It’s a Swing Thing”                           Masque                                  22-24 Jan.


Well my friends – this will be the last newsletter from me as I am stepping down from the Committee next year. May I say what an absolute pleasure it has been chatting to you all each month for so many years.  I am sure we will see each other at the theatre, at our members’ evenings and, of course, at our Birthday Bash on 1 December.  May I wish you all a wonderful, peaceful  Holiday Season and that the New Year will bring with it, joy, hope and happiness.  AND REMEMBER…

May your glass be ever full.

May the roof over your head be always strong.

And may you be in heaven

half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.



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