Archive for January, 2009

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 78                                                        JANUARY 2009


 Hi Folks


2008 was a sad year for amateur dramatics; G&S mourned the loss of Richard Sharland in mid year, and Claremont the passing of Christine Dickenson in November and Jill Cooke on 31st December.  Jill’s memorial service took place in St Thomas’ Church, Rondebosch.  It was attended by a large and representative crowd from across the amdram world.  Loving tributes from family, neighbours and friends attested to the enormous influence Jill had on so many lives.  I always found her kind and helpful, and prepared to assist me with the odd pieces of wood that I presented for cutting and shaping:  her attention to precision cutting on her circular saw was a lesson in craftsmanship – nothing left to chance; precision to the millimetre.  I have a pair of jeans, one of those abominations beloved of ‘designers’, with ‘yards’ of material dragging on the ground.  In sheer desperation I asked her to shorten the legs which she did, again with precision and skill.  I think I have the smartest pair of jeans in all the known world!  As we know, the sets and flats she built for the Masque show a mark of genius, and the days of hit and miss set construction, followed by unscriptural language, are, mercifully, a thing of the past.  May she rest in peace.


And a few words from Lieske:


If you were at the beautiful memorial service for JILL COOKE on Friday 16 January at St Thomas in Rondebosch, you will have learned a great deal about a very special person, who strived for perfection in everything she did. . Acting, directing, expert designing and making of costumes and props, imaginative set design and execution, décor and ingenious backstage facilities – she practised and shared her theatrical crafts and taught many others in the process.  Her wide general knowledge of the theatre made her a valuable member of any quiz team, but more important, a natural mentor to many.  When you got to know Jill, you could not do other than love and admire her.  She lived life to the full, maybe not always wisely, but oh so well.  We will remember her with much love and gratitude. 




“The Breath of Life” by David Hare, written for Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith, marked the opening of The Masque’s Golden Jubilee year, and the twelfth since the disastrous fire.  To quote from Director Sue Bolton’s programme notes, Su Cunningham and Yvonne Copley took on these huge parts with panache and sensitivity.  Their performances delighted the large audience.  Champagne and snacks rounded off an evening to remember.




Brenda Gray’s production of ‘Old Wicked Songs’ has been invited to the Artscape Arena from 8 to 16 May.  Diarise these dates now – don’t miss this chance to see this superb show if you didn’t catch it first time round. 




The most important event of our Society’s calendar is upon us. Our AGM takes place on Tuesday 17 February 2009 at Kelvin Grove in the Palmyra Room at 19h00 for 19h30. Tickets cost R75 which includes a very scrumptious dinner at one of the most exclusive venues in the Cape. Please note that nominees do not receive complimentary tickets, as the evening is already being partly subsidised by the Society. Please see the attached Agenda for more details. It is vital that as many members as possible attend. RSVP to Pam Burger before 9 February 2009 to confirm your attendance (pamb@masterparts.com or 021 696 5959 a/h) not only for catering purposes but also to ensure that we have a quorum. Even if you are unable to join us, please send Pam your apologies.


Now without further hesitation, let’s deal with the exciting stuff! As you know, after the business end of the meeting has been dealt with, we switch to award mode and our honoured CDS Awards Panel will present the Claremont Dramatic Society Awards for 2008. So, drum roll please, here are this year’s nominees, with categories purposely omitted:


Jane de Sousa, Richard Farmer, Brian de Kock, Trista Gamble, Nava Sarracino, James Skilton, Brenda Gray, Wendy Goddard, Yvonne Copley, Jo Darby


Congratulations! We look forward to seeing you all on the night. Good Luck!


But wait, there’s more! We introduced new awards last year, called The Members’ Choice Awards. Upon arrival at the AGM, paid up members will be given a ballot paper, and will be asked to vote for their favourite actor, actress and production of the year.  Non-members are also eligible for an award. Completed forms will be handed in, and the results will be announced after the main awards have been presented. YOU, the member, decide on the criteria.  Which has been the most memorable, funny, noteworthy, etc. performance or play of the year?  It’s YOUR choice.


And just to jog your memory, here is a list of the 2008 plays and performers, so that you can start thinking about it now…


PLAY:               UNORIGINAL SIN

ACTORS:          Simon Dutton, Luke Gillott, James Skilton, André Thomas

ACTRESSES:   Jane de Sousa, Jo Darby



ACTORS:          Richard Farmer, Philip Gordon, Gary Green, Walter Hodges

ACTRESSES:   Trista Gamble, Nava Sarracino


PLAY                OLD WICKED SONGS

ACTORS:          Brian de Kock, Roland Perold


Remember – only paid-up members may vote.  The treasurer will be present to confirm your status, and will relieve you of your subs on the night, should it be necessary.




If you haven’t seen coveted list via email, here are the nominations for 2008:



Sorrows and Rejoicings directed by Mari Mocke  (Milnerton Players)

Witness for the Prosecution directed by Brenda Gray (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

Barefoot in the Park directed by Wendy Goddard (Claremont Dramatic Society)

The Rainmaker directed by Sue Bolton – (Constantiaberg Players)

Old Wicked Songs directed by Brenda Gray (Claremont Dramatic Society)

All You Need is Love directed by Coleen van Staden and Celia Musikanth (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

Show Stoppers Encore  directed by Giles Scott and Shiraz (Hottentots Holland Dramatic Society)

Cabaret directed by Teddy Davies (Festival Productions)

The Wizard of Oz directed by Clifford Graham (Pinelands Players)



Willie Sass – Sorrows and Rejoicings (Milnerton Players)

Dennis Cunningham – Three the Hard Way (Milnerton Players)

Dennis Benneyworth – Witness for the Prosecution (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

James Skilton – Hotel Paradiso (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

Brian de Kock – Old Wicked Songs (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Brian Winter – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Darren Telford – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Jeremy Quickfall – Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp (Milnerton Players)

Greg Tinney – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)

David Bolton – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)



Jane de Sousa – Unoriginal Sin (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Jo Darby – Unoriginal Sin (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Sharon Wood – Three The Hard Way ( Milnerton Players)

Trista Gamble – Witness for the Prosecution ( Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

Denise Dubber – The Rainmaker (Constantiaberg Players)

Julie Summers – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Ami-Rose Barber – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)

Christine Thonissen – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)

Shirley Sutherland – My Fair Lady (C.T Gilbert & Sullivan Society)



John McConnell – Anne of the Thousand Days (Fish Hoek Dramatic Society)

Richard Farmer – Barefoot in the Park (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Deryck Broom – The Rainmaker (Constantiaberg Players)

Tobie Beale – Hotel Paradiso (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

Graham Boxall – My Fair Lady (C.T Gilbert & Sullivan Society)

Michael Harris – My Fair Lady (C.T.Gilbert  & Sullivan Society)



Megan Landry-LeRiche – Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Hottentots Holland Dramatic Society)

Phoebe Snayer – Sorrows and Rejoicings (Milnerton Players)

Trista Gamble – Barefoot in the Park (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Trish Sutton – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Ruth Allsopp – My Fair Lady (C.T.Gilbert & Sullivan Society)

Nichol Nefdt – Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp (Milnerton Players)

Laura Bosman – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)

Roche Haupt – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)

Luella Holland – Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp (Milnerton Players)



Lisa Stallianou – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Robin Rattle – Witness for the Prosecution (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

Gary Green – Barefoot in the Park (Claremont Dramatic Society)



Yvonne Pedretti – Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Hottentots Holland Dramatic Society)

Elton Jansen – All you Need is Love (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

Philip Gordon – Barefoot in the Park (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Gary Green – Barefoot in the Park (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Selwyn Epstein – Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp (Milnerton Players)



Nigel Sweet – Unoriginal Sin (Claremont Dramatic Society)

David Davidson – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Wendy Goddard – Barefoot in the Park (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Cecil Jakins and Debbie Bently-Buckle – The Rainmaker (Constantiaberg Players)

Tobie Beale – Hotel Paradiso (Muizenberg Dramatic Society)

David Davidson – Old Wicked Songs (Claremont Dramatic Society)



Cecil Jakins – Costumes – Anne of the Thousand Days (Fish Hoek Dramatic Society)

Roland Sweet – Soundtrack Mix – Unoriginal Sin (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Amanda Peacefull – Choreography – Show Stoppers Encore (Hottentots Holland Dramatic Society)

Isabelle Weyer – Costumes – Show Stoppers Encore (Hottentots Holland Dramatic Society)

Gary Fargher – Lighting – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Chris Smith/Grant Faiers – Sound – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Roxy Levy – Choreography – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Heather Earp-Jones – Costumes – Cabaret (Festival Productions)

Brett Radloff – Lighting – Barefoot in the Park (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Kyla Thorburn – Choreography – My Fair Lady (C.T. Gilbert & Sullivan Society)

Gary Fargher – Sound/Lighting/Effects – Old Wicked Songs (Claremont Dramatic Society)

Gillian Hollander – Costumes – Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp (Milnerton Players)

Mandrie Haupt/Karin Matthee/Jan Barber – Costumes – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)

Roxy Levy – Choreography – The Wizard of Oz (Pineland Players)

Jan Barber / Guilma Stander- Make Up/Hair – The Wizard of Oz (Pinelands Players)


There will also be a number of Certificates of Merit awarded on the night.


Congratulations to you all! Every single one of you deserves the recognition you have received. And not only that, with Claremont Dramatic Society receiving 16 nominations in all 9 categories for all three of our 2008 productions, it’s an enormous pat on the back for our society and its marvellous volunteers (that’s you, guys!) and says a lot about our standards.




Anyone interested in acting in film?


Magda Zukowski has met a director who is constantly searching for actors to star in her short films. Great Exposure. Zero Budget! (Well, most of the time). So if you are looking to try something different, and give on screen acting a go, send Magda your spheel, photo… to magda.zukowski@gmail.com


29 – 31 Jan:  Masque Theatre. Fire and Grace.  Flamenco guitarist Saudiq Khan is joined by Robert Davids, André Web and Maria Cortes.  Normal times (Note:  no matinee) Bookings:  021 788 1898

4 – 14 Feb:  Masque Theatre.  Georges Bizet’s Carmen, directed by Teddy Davies, conducted by Victor Tichart.  Bookings:  021 788 1898.

17 Feb:  Kelvin Grove:  CDS AGM.  7pm.  Bookings:  Pam Burger pamb@masterparts.com or 021 696 5959 a/h

19 – 21 Feb:  Masque Theatre. La Sylphide.  Cape Town City Ballet.  Normal times.  Bookings: 021 788 1898

6 – 14 March:  Masque Theatre. Athol Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye.  Directed by birga Thomas for MVDS.  Normal times and prices.  Bookings:  021 788 1898

9 March:  Masque Theatre. CATA Awards evening.  Bookings:  021 788 1898






P.S.  A spectacles case was left at St Thomas’s at Jill’s memorial service.  They were found on the pew behind the organ.  If they are yours, please let Wendy know and she will make a plan to get them back to you.

Read Full Post »




January??? January, I hear you asking?!?!? Well, emailers WILL be getting it in January (just!) but snail-mailers will only get it in Feb!! Sorry, guys, but with our AGM only being held on the 20th and the first committee meeting only scheduled for 2 February, time was very tight. So …….. a brand new year!! At the end of this newsletter you will find a poem by one of my favourite poets which I think we can all relate to.



Wasn’t that a wonderful “Birthday Bash” at Fogey’s on 1 December for the Society’s 30th birthday? Great food, super ambience and fabulous décor. And, of course, Gary provided us with music to complete the evening – humping everything up and down all those steps must have been a real trial!! Thanks to those who shared their MVDS stories with us.


The Masque Theatre celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 10 January with a performance by Claremont Dramatic Society of A Breath of Life, directed by Sue Bolton and staring Su Cunningham and Yvonne Copley. What superb actresses these ladies are – all those lines to learn! This was followed by champagne and snacks in the foyer – beautifully decorated by Peter Sharp and well-catered by Sue Hallinan (both members of MVDS – need I say more?).



Such a good turnout!! I was AMAZED at the number of people – every single chair full (I stood all night – boy, were my feet sore). Congratulations to all the award-winners, whose names you will find listed elsewhere in this newsletter. Grateful thanks to Lieske Bester for her honest and fair adjudication – and for sharing some of her dearly-held views with us! Thanks also to Jane Philbrick for again doing her election-officer bit and to Wolfgang Thomas for agreeing to be our auditor. John McConnell’s delightful sketch had us all in stitches and Alastair kept us all well-lubricated from his post in the kitchen.


A VERY SPECIAL THANK-YOU must go to birga Thomas who made each and every member an amazing bookmark which also functions as a calendar. This was not a gift from MVDS but from birga herself, a point which I am not sure was made at the AGM.


The amending of the constitution was accomplished very painlessly – hopefully this means that everyone had studied the proposed changes and agreed with them! Perhaps the change which is most significant is the fact that only paid-up members will be eligible for our MVDS awards in the future. Which quite naturally brings me to ……..




These are obviously now due for 2009 and are as follows:

Single R40; Couple R60; Pensioner/Student R25

Payment by cheque or by electronic transfer/deposit to Muizenberg Dramatic Society, Standard Bank, Blue Route Tokai (code 025 609), Current account 270 044 949 (using your surname as reference) or you may pay any member of the committee or leave your payment in the Masque office, clearly marked “birga Thomas, MVDS subs”.

I note with great interest that over half of the new committee (myself included!) have not yet paid for 2009 so maybe we should put our money where our mouths are ………..





Best set design                            David Davidson

Best effects                                  Gary Fargher

Best supporting actress               Phyllis Early

Best supporting actor                  Brian Notcutt

Best actress                                 Trista Gamble

Best actor                                    Gary Mahnke

Best director                                Brenda Gray

Best production                           All you need is Love

                                                                            (Coleen van Staden & Celia Musikanth)


Mad Oscar                                   Raymond Rudolph & Tobie Beele

Best production                           All you need is Love (Coleen van Staden & Celia Musikanth)

Best actress                                 Trista Gamble

Best actor                                    James Skilton

Just to let you know that in the members’ choice All you need is Love pipped Witness for the Prosecution by a mere one vote! Because two of the directors of 2008’s productions are members of the committee, they (Celia and Alastair) were not privy to the Mad Oscar nominations. So when Brenda read her nomination for Tobie and Raymond, Alastair was absolutely gobsmacked as he had chosen the self-same two!! I think there is no doubt that we are really fortunate in adding these two members to our society – and one to the committee! We are very grateful to Lieske Bester for donating a trophy in the name of her late husband, Isak, which is for best effects, a nice, broad category.




To those of you who celebrated in January, Magdalena Zukowski on the 7th, Andrew Blake, Jenny Seabrook and Wolfgang Thomas all on the 19th, Luella Holland on the 22nd and Ron Carr on the 29th, I hope you had a wonderfully special day.

Some interesting people born in January: P W Botha and Heather Mills on the 12th (1916 and 1968 respectively), Anton Chekov and Germaine Greer on the 29th (1860 and 1939).

Wishes in advance to those born in “the month of love”:

1st       James Skilton   2nd     Rudy Gibbons              5th      Lynda Jennings

9th       Nic Leonidas                18th     David Muller                             20th     birga Thomas

Picked the 10th of Feb for celebrity birthdays and found Jimmy Durante (1893), Bertolt Brecht (1898), Robert Wagner (1930), Roberta Flack (1937), and Mark Spitz (1950).

IF I MISS YOUR BIRTHDAY during the course of the year: Let me know and we’ll get it right next year!!




More to follow about these in the next newsletter but, for now, birga’s “cry for props” for Hello and Goodbye at the bottom of page 4.




Fire and Grace on from 29 to 31 Jan at the Masque Theatre. Starring Saudiq Khan from District Six, the top flamenco guitarist in SA, joined by Robert Davids (cajon), André Web (bass) and Maria Cortes (flamenco dancer from Las Rosa Dance School). Thurs & Fri performances at 20:15, Sat matinee at 14:15, Sat evening at 18:15 Thurs evening and Sat Matinée R65 (Theatre Club members R55), Other Nights R45 (Theatre Club members R35)

Carmen on from 4 to 14 Feb at the Masque Theatre. Georges Bizet’s popular opera abridged into a concise two-act version, sung in English, with an experienced young cast.

World Premier Gala Opening Wed 4th 20:15 R110 incl. wine and snacks. Tues, Thurs & Fri performances at 20:15, Sat matinees at 14:15, Sun matinee at 15:00, Sat evenings at 18:15 Thurs evening and Matinées R60 (Theatre Club members R50), Other Nights R70 (R60)

La Sylphide on from 19 to 21 Feb at the Masque Theatre. The stars of the Cape Town City Ballet in a two-act ballet set in the Scottish Highlands. Thurs & Fri performances at 20:15, Sat matinee at 14:15, Sat evening at 18:15 Thurs evening and Matinée R55 (Theatre Club members R45), Other Nights R60 (R50)




Most of you are probably aware of the passing of Jill Cooke – the church was packed for her memorial service. We join all other societies in heartfelt sympathy for Wendy and Bob. Very much “her own person” Jill gave so much to the Masque, quietly and without fanfare – all those little blue sandbags with red stitching are her fairly recent work.


I’m sure you all wish to join me in thanking Val Stephens for her brilliant newsletter throughout 2008 – for keeping us abreast of all society happenings and the weather to boot! Val has decided she needs a break from committee meetings but assures me we will not be able to keep her away from plays, members’ evenings and other gatherings.


You will note that there is no “Welcome” section in this newsletter – I do see that some of our past members have rejoined us – nice to see you at the AGM, Angela! – and I do not think that Sandy Mann has been officially mentioned as a new member. However, I am quite sure that I am missing out on a few and trust that this will not make you feel any less welcome.


You have all received the CATA nominations – full details of the awards event on 9 March 2009 at the Masque Theatre will follow in the February newsletter but, if you have not yet booked, I strongly advise you to do so by phoning 021-788 1898 between 09:00 and 16:00 weekdays and 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays.




As our AGM was on the 20th of this month, I took a gander at what happened in history on that day: In 1991 Les Miserables opened at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles and Shogun – The Musical closed at Marquis Theatre, New York City. In 1998 the “Mamas & Papas” and the “Eagles” were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 1993 Bill Clinton was inaugurated as president of the USA and we all know who was inaugurated on the very same day this year!


I think that is plenty to start off the new year! If you have anything you wish to contribute to this newsletter, I would be delighted to hear from you (everon@absamail.co.za). ‘Til next time, Eve.


Our Committee:

Chair: Andrew Blake 021 7810114/0824933330 Vice-Chair: Alastair Duff 021 7884984/0845312457

Secretary: birga Thomas 021 788 5272 Treasurer: Raymond Rudolph 0217945229/0823122737

President & Masque Trustee: Celia Musikanth 021 7887911/0833588415 Vice-President: John McConnell 021 7822743

Other Members: Tom Byrne 021 6741470/0839627233 Eve Carr 021 7977286/0827892281

Ron Carr 021 7977286/0727847236 Luke Luies 021 7970243/0825567371 Coleen Van Staden 021 7886193/0721205645


(Originally penned by Jesse Prisman, with a few slight changes!!)


Again January and the rising tide of mail floods in

The flotsam of a brand new book for 2009 suggesting I begin

To enter my commitments for the coming year.


I rifle through my Book of Days for 2008 – the record of a year

That’s almost over

And uncover

Long lists of things to do – many, it would appear,

Undone. This is a book I fear:

Frankenstein monster that has me in its power.

Each hour upon the hour

I dare not move an inch

Without consulting it. It know my thoughts.

I can’t revoke or clinch

An assignation sans its leave.

It is my memory. What if I lost it! Now I old

The heavy witness in my hand and fold

Its pages back to one page – any page.


That was a whole day of my only life. Gone.

Nothing can assuage

My sorrow at its waste. I look upon

The jotted notes and grieve.


The scribbles scratch my mind:

Keep this appointment, buy that thing.

Phone, fetch, remember. Will the new year bring

Long lists of trivia too?
And at its ending will I find

As now, “so little done, so much to do”?




The following props are fairly urgently needed for Hello and Goodbye. If you can help please contact Raymond Rudolph on raymrud@netactive.co.za or 082 312 2737 or 021-529 3980 (w) or at home 021-794 5229.


* pre-1964 comic * a stack of yellowed newspapers, circa 1930s
* enamel wash basin/jug (worn) * a few medium-sized suitcases, worn, ’40s to ’60s
* enamel plates/mugs, etc. (worn) * a unique, brass-plated uncle-frightener, with extra string
* old clothes (pre-’50s, incl. child’s dress), any condition * girl’s shoes (white?), fairly good condition, should be old-fashioned (’40s style?)
* old shoes (INCL. esp. 3 large men’s shoes – left ones only. N.B. these to be in good condition) * old cardboard boxes, all sizes, preferably without writing (but not condition!); worn and might date pre-1960s
* pair of wooden (old-fashioned) crutches, with rubber-stoppers * enamel bucket (worn) [if possible, but not necessary, with lid] – preferably white

Read Full Post »