Archive for September, 2010

Claremont Chat
Claremont Dramatic Society Newsletter
Box 50, Eppindust, 7475
Tel: 021 671 2242               Cell: 082 821 4353             Fax: 021 528 2299

E-mail: andrethomas@vodamail.co.za

September 2010 – Number 91

And another month is practically over – funny how it seems to go quicker near the end of the year? I’m definitely going to try and get all my Christmas presents sorted by the end of November again this year – it just takes away so much stress!

We’ve had some more feedback after Lady Windermere: It really was a huge success, and so rewarding that the second week had SOLD OUT signs each night. It is a pity of course that some people missed it.

Several people have expressed their heartfelt thanks to Brenda Gray for yet another brilliant production. Several of the cast, the CDS committee and new members in the production said Brenda was a great director and helped them develop and learn as actors.

I can certainly vouch for that. And despite being in another show that opens this month (one finds oneself saying “yes” if approached in a moment of “is it really over?”) – I miss Windermere very much. We had such fun creating the show together over almost 4 months.

There was also plenty of positive feedback about Wesley Wolhuter playing piano in the foyer creating a wonderful ambience. The CDS committee would like to convey theur thanks to him for that.

Member news
Claremont Dramatic Society would like to (re-) welcome 3 new members:

Vivian Gray has assisted with stage design and set construction on numerous productions in for CDS over the years. We are delighted she has decided to join.

Sheldon Cross played the Australian Hopper in Lady Windermere’s Fan – and got married this weekend (in real-life) – Congratulations to him!

Anthony Storr Lister was a member a few years back, and has decided to rejoin the society.

Welcome all!

If you are unsure about having paid your membership fee send an e-mail to cds.members@gmail.com to find out if you have paid or not.

Member’s evening

CDS had a lovely member’s evening earlier this month – and extends a big Thank You to Brenda for her participation on the evening. All that were there enjoyed a wonderful evening together.

Production update

Gigi – an update from Clifford – The Director

It’s hard to believe that as of the weekend of Sept. 19th we will have blocked fifty percent of the show.

This has only been achieved, in no small measure, to a very dedicated and enthusiastic cast.

I’m sure the rest of the production team will agree that we have a potential hit on our hands!

The buzz around Gigi has been wildly encouraging and we have been invited to perform some of the songs in Milnerton in November. This will help spread the word, and encourage an audience from far afield.

The Masque Theatre followers have, I’ve been told, started to make noises about booking for the show at this early stage.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to our Liane D’ Exelmans, Robyn Hobson, who has been offered a fantastic work opportunity. Good luck Robyn. Fortunately we were able to re-cast from among our ranks and congratulations to Amy Trout who has stepped into the breach without so much as a bat of an eyelid.

Behind the scenes, Carynn Underhill has been cutting and sewing away to ensure we achieve the look so cleverly designed by Barrie Howard. However Carynn will need some help with costume.  Interested? Please give Kim Harris-Dalla a call 083 355 7050 or Carynn directly 076 726 3119.

Regarding “boys stuff” Jack Mathee has been hard at work with the construction of the key set pieces. Our monoliths will soon be standing proud adding to our worship, collective or otherwise, of this fine piece of theatre. Curious? You’ll just have to wait in anticipation!

Kim Harris-Dalla put our cast to task this weekend just past and many red and sweaty faces were in evidence as the cast swirled around the “Maxim’s” dace floor. Paris will never be Paris again!

For your diaries the provisional production dates are:

3,4,8,9,10,11,12,15,16,17 and 18 December 2010.

As for me? I will remember it well!

Au Revoir


Help Thee at the Masque!

We’ve had a request from the Masque for more volunteers to help once or twice a month with bar duty during the runs of the various shows. We’ve all enjoyed a drink or two before, during and after a performance – and it would be great to get a few more of us to spare a couple of hours to help. Please contact Rick Magnin directly – richard.magnin@engenoil.com

Help Thee the Masque – Barn Dance Time!

Constantiaberg Theatre Players are hosting a Barn Dance and have invited all other societies to come join them in raising money for the Masque Theatre.

The evening will be run by Caroline Blundell, who has many years’ experience in hosting Barn Dancing events – her father was the renowned entertainer Keith Blundell.

For information on Caroline, check out her Internet site on www.barndance.co.za

Bergvliet Primary School, Children’s Way, Bergvliet

Saturday 06 November 2010.

To add to the atmosphere hot dogs and hamburgers will be on sale outside in the garden and there will, OF COURSE, be a cash bar!

Tickets priced at R80 available for Claremont members

Booked through Wendy Goddard, Tel 021 6712888 or Cell 083 414 7003

If Wendy is unavailable please phone Debbie on 082 921 3940

There are only 300 tickets available to all combined societies – sounds like a lot? Don’t be mislead my friends, just ask anyone who has ever been to a barn dance before and you will find out just how much fun they are and just how popular they are!

Please support this very important fundraising  event

Get Thee to the Theatre!

Please note days, times and prices for Masque Theatre productions

(unless otherwise stated) are Thurs & Fri performances at 20:00,

Saturday matinee at 14:30, Saturday evening at 18:30

Thurs eve and Sat Matinees R50 (Theatre Club members R40)

Other Nights R60 (Theatre Club members R50)

Bookings on 021-7881898

“What the Butler Saw”

01 to 09 October 2010

Joe Orton’s “What the Butler Saw” is being presented by MVDS at the Masque. The cast of 6 has 2 Claremont members taking part – James Skilton as Doctor Prentice and yours faithfully, André Thomas as Sergeant Match. There are some very funny and clever lines in this play!

This wickedly funny farce is directed by Ralph Yarrow, former head of drama at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Yarrow has directed, acted and given workshops in the UK, India and South Africa and his repertoire ranges from Shakespeare, Goethe and Mdiere, to Beckett and Pinter.
Muizenberg Dramatic Society (MVDS) is fortunate in having this esteemed director sharing his years of experience with his cast.

This fast-and-furious farce is set in a mental home about to be subjected to a government inspection and a police inquiry into missing parts of a statue of Winston Churchill. Cover-ups, revelations, cross-dressings and pursuits succeed one another at breakneck speed. The very young and the very old might find some of this difficult.

‘God’s Favourite’

22 to 30 October 2010

This production by Constantiaberg Players is not to be missed as Neil Simon is always a favourite. Celia Musikanth directs this “poignant, yet hilarious comedy” based on the book of Job in the Bible.


13 November to 05 December 2010

Gilbert & Sullivan is putting on this all-time favourite. It is on at Artscape, and I believe that rehearsals are going well. Bookings at Computicket or on Dial-a-Seat (021-421 7695).

Get Thee to the Theatre!

The Fish Hoek Dramatic Society Committee is hard at work preparing for this year’s Inter Society Quiz. It is to be held at the Masque on November 14th.  It promises to be a fun-filled evening for the audience as well as the participant – we’ll keep you posted, but diarise the date so long!

And that’s me signing off for now  – See you at the theatre!

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Newsletter – September 2010


Howdy pardner …

This month’s newsletter is short, sweet and to the point, so keep reading.

Incidentally, I heard a lovely collective noun for prostitutes on the radio recently:  an “anthology of prose”.  But this newsletter has got nothing to do with that and distances itself in no uncertain terms, so on with business.

The Masque Theatre

The Masque Theatre is our home from home – I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of that.  We hope (some of us in any case) that our children will one day tread its boards.  The problem is that money is not what it used to be.  It’s not that money has changed much, it’s just not worth as much, or something like that.

Anyway, my point is that the Masque Theatre is battling financially and needs help.  To do our bit, we’re hosting a Barn Dance as a fundraiser for the Masque.  And this newsletter is mainly about just that.

The Barn Dance … Reasons for being there

Yeeehaa!  The Barn Dance promises to be an unforgettable opskop (if you’re wondering, this is an Afrikaans term that I suppose would mean kicking up your heels in a real party sense).  Here are some reasons that you shouldn’t miss it:

  • It’s a fundraiser for the Masque.
  • All members of amdram societies, as well as their family and friends are invited.  The more the merrier.
  • Members of the various societies rarely get to see everyone at the same time in the same place.
  • It’s a fundraiser for the Masque.
  • Remember the late Keith Blundell?  Well, the Barn Dance will be run by his daughter, Caroline Blundell, who has been running these things since 1986.
  • Barn dancing is fun, simple and easy to learn.  It’s like karaoke – once you get up and do it, nobody can get the microphone away from you.
  • You will rub shoulders with the Who’s Who of Masque Theatre lovers, or should that be lovers of the Masque Theatre?  Perhaps both.  And if you’re a Who, then make sure you’re there or risk the chance of losing your status.
  • There will be food on sale.  Oh, and drinks as well.
  • Did I mention it’s a fundraiser for the Masque?

The Barn Dance … Where, when, what and how much

WHEN:            Saturday, 6 November 2010

TIME:              19.30 to 23.00 (or 7.30pm to 11pm)

WHERE:          Bergvliet Primary School hall, Children’s Way, Bergvliet

TICKETS:       An incredibly low R80 per person.

You can buy them from Di Thom (021 794 7455 or 082 410 9900) or

Debbie Bentley-Buckle (082 921 3940 or visit Alphen Vet in

Constantia Main Road).

Upcoming CTP production

Our society’s next production is God’s Favorite by Neil Simon, directed by Celia Musikanth.  It opens 22 October.  Diarise now, please.

Next members’ evening

Our next member’s evening will be the opening night of God’s Favorite on Friday, 22 October, at the Masque Theatre.  There you go – you can attend God’s Favorite and a member’s evening at the same time.  That’s called multi-tasking.  We’re committed to making your life easier.


To our members who celebrated their birthdays in September – HIP, HIP, HOORAY AND MANY HAPPY RETURNS!

12th Scott Gill

22nd Maureen Dubber

If we’ve missed your birthday, it probably means that we don’t have your date of birth.  We’re pretty certain that you have one, so please contact your committee to rectify.  You may leave out the year if you so wish.

For your diary

1 – 9 Oct          A raunchy farce

What the butler saw by Joe Orton opens at the Masque Theatre on 1 October.  This MADS production is directed by Ralph Yarrow, the former Head of Drama at the University of East Anglia in the UK.  It’s a somewhat naughty farce set in a mental home and involves “cover-ups, revelations, cross-dressings and pursuits succeeding one another at break-neck speed”.  Sounds like a good night out.

22 Oct              CTP member’s evening

Opening night of God’s Favorite at the Masque Theatre.

22 – 30 Oct       A favourite favorite (sic)

In case you can’t make it for the CTP member’s evening, don’t miss our production of God’s Favorite, a Neil Simon comedy based on the Book of Job and directed by Celia Musikanth.

6 Nov               Barn Dance fundraiser

Ask not what the Masque Theatre can do for you, but what you can do for the Masque Theatre.  Details elsewhere in this newsletter.

Masque Theatre bookings

Bookings:          Call 021 788 1898 – 9am to 4pm weekdays and 8:30am to 11am Saturdays.

You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.  You will attend the Barn Dance fundraiser on 6 November.

And I’ll see you there.



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Yay!!!  September 24th is a public holiday!!  Yup, it’s Heritage Day: a day on which South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their cultural heritage and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people.  On a smaller scale, let’s see what’s happening in the AmDram world, shall we?


10, 11      A Night on the Town presented by Wynberg Boys High School.   The Steel Band is

12 Sept   known as the “party band” due to its light-hearted, foot tapping repertoire which often inspires spontaneous dancing from the audience!  In addition to this outstanding band, our audiences will be treated to an amazing programme which features the award-winning Wynberg Boy’s Choir and the Vocal Ensemble.  As if this is not enough you will also experience the popular WBHS Concert and Jazz Bands.  The repertoire for this exciting programme includes such favourites as “Waka Waka”, “Seventy Six Trombones”, “Mona Lisa”, “Sha-boom”, “For the Longest Time”, “The Girl from Ipanema”, “All Shook Up”, “Stormy Weather”, “Paper Moon” and much much more.  Fri at 20:00, Sat at 18:30 and Sun at 15:00.    All shows R60 (R50).

17&18     Fish Hoek Dramatic Society present Natalia da Roche in Cabaret (Fri at 20:00 and

Sept        Sat at 18:30.  Natalia is a pioneer in the entertainment industry and will be sharing some of her memories of being in the entertainment industry for over 30 years and singing some of her favourite songs!  She runs the new Theatre in the Muze in Muizenberg with husband Kurt Egelhof.

1 – 9        What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton presented by Muizenberg Dramatic Society

Oct           and guest-directed by Ralph Yarrow, formerly Head of Drama at the University of East Anglia (UK).  Joe Orton despised what he saw as the hypocrisy of state and society in 1960s Britain and his fast, furious and raunchy farce, set in a mental home, challenges the limits of theatre censorship of the time and of conventional attitudes to sex.  Psychiatrist Dr Prentice’s attempt to seduce attractive prospective secretary Geraldine is interrupted by his wife’s return; his clinic is then subjected to a government inspection by Dr Rance and a police enquiry.  Cover-ups, revelations, cross-dressing and pursuits succeed each other at breakneck speed!  This unusual offering will have open-minded audiences laughing out loud as the action unfolds around the witty script.

11 & 12   Fish Hoek Dramatic Society is auditioning for “Music Hall” devised and to be

Sept        directed by Natalia Da Rocha at Theatre on the Muze from 17 to 23 December.  Auditions are open to all and talent is the only requirement. For further information contact Margi Blewett A/H 021 7884664.
10 -18     The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard to be presented by Milernton Players. More

Sept        details can be found on www.milnertonplayers.com

15 – 25    Imagining Einsten, a 75 minute one-hander by David Muller, will be presented

Sept         at the Kalk Bay Theatre.  Details on www.kbt.co.za or call 0722205430.


Two big productions coming up towards the end of this year are Annie,
a Gilbert & Sullivan production at Artscape,
and Gigi, a collaboration between Pinelands and Claremont at the Masque.
Both have large casts and MVDS’ members who are participating are:
In Gigi: Michele Belknap, Ron and myself, Anthony James,
and Gary Fargher working tirelessly in the background.

In Annie: Fiona Carling, Lee De Andrade, Patrick Jordi, Joshua Knott
and Coleen Van Staden.


Please note days, times and prices for Masque Theatre productions

(unless otherwise stated) are Thurs & Fri performances at 20:00,

Saturday matinee at 14:30, Saturday evening at 18:30

Thurs eve and Sat Matinees R50 (Theatre Club members R40)

Other Nights R60 (Theatre Club members R50)

Bookings on 021-7881898


Our chairman, Andrew Blake, is prod sec and stage manager for “What the Butler Saw” which opens at the Masque on 1st October.  He shares progress thus far with us as follows;

Rehearsals thus far have been fun for all concerned, with the actors learning much from visiting director Ralph Yarrow, who calls upon his years of teaching drama at University level to help the actors discover their characters while learning their lines and keeping up with all of the bizarre business required in a farce.

There has been no formal blocking at all and rehearsals generally follow the pattern of a warm-up characterisation exercise, followed by repetition of some of the hectic business sections, in which the actors are fed their lines by the director so they have both hands free to actually do what is needed, followed by some individual dialogue coaching for pace, accentuation and characterisation.

As an actor himself, Ralph is often able to move into the role and demonstrate his thought behind the delivery of the line and how it relates to the characterisation.  Coupled with his lively sense of humour, this often has the cast and crew in fits of laughter.

Rehearsals now move to the next phase of running sections through completely to gain some understanding of the continuity of the play.  Most performers nearly have their lines under their belts and the focus is now on making sure that the correct performer has the correct item of someone else’s clothes on at the right time.

Well, that certainly sounds like everyone is having a very INTERSTING time!  This production showcases some well-known faces and some that have never been on stage before and should be a real treat.  Andrew is still looking for some assistance with set-building, painting, backstage, etc, so if you want to become involved with this zany production, contact him on 021 7810114 or 0824933330 or ablake@mweb.co.za


Our AGM is of course scheduled for January next year and, yes, I KNOW that’s MONTHS away BUT …… All of you who were awarded trophies at the 2010 AGM must please make a plan to get them back to us!!  A number of them need a little TLC before they continue their journey to the next lucky recipient so PLEASE contact any member of the committee and make arrangements.


Wendy Morling is to undergo a hip replacement op during this month and we wish her well.  The majority of the committee were, like “isn’t she much too YOUNG for one of those?”!?!


Alastair Duff shares his Dhow Sailing Adventure in Nosy Bé, Madagascar, with us:

Warm sea, hot days, wonderful scenery, delicious food, exotic nature, friendly people – Nosy Bé offers all of this and more.  Actually, I sort of ended up there by default really as my original plan to safari in Kenya fell through.  I certainly did not regret it for a moment.  For a holiday of carefree, relaxing, sun-filled days, you really couldn’t ask for more.  Perched on the Northern tip of Madagascar (which is enormous when seen from the air and shouldn’t really be called an island), Nosy Bé is made up of a myriad of tiny islands, coral-reefs, verdant jungle and blazing white sands.  Little inlets, isolated bays and remote anchorages abound, and it’s not difficult to understand why this was a favourite haunt of pirates in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

A small party of us sailed in the care of five crew (especially Honoré our expert guide) who waited on us hand and foot, plied us with drinks and delicious Malagassy food and expertly sailed and navigated the waterways.  With our own chef (the diminutive Sophie) on board, every meal was a culinary delight and fresh fish, caught either by the crew or fellow passengers, was on the menu every day.  Marinaded suchi, Malagassy style, was the first course every evening.   We stayed overnight at a variety of camp sites, my favourite being Russian Bay – so named after a group of Russian sailors who just didn’t return home after WWII and set up a small settlement there, the ruins of which may still be seen.  Who can blame them?  It must have seemed like Paradise to their frozen Northern senses!  The sea is warm and inviting (and safe – no sharks at all strangely enough).  To say I spent the majority of the day in the sea is not exaggerating and despite the odd jellyfish sting, I didn’t want to get out.  Reminded me of the Mombassa of my childhood.  Nosy Bé has something for everyone and if you don’t want to rough it quite as much as we did, there are some luxurious resorts and up-to-date catamarans.  Shoals of dolphins swam alongside our dhow and we saw whales (very close up), exotic brilliantly-coloured fish, lemurs, tortoises, enormous chameleons and even snakes (non-poisonous which makes jungle-bashing quite safe).  I’d go back again any day – those sleek catamarans look very tempting!


As mentioned last month Constantiaberg Theatre Players is hosting a Barn Dance on Saturday, 6 November 2010, at 19:30, at the Bergvliet Primary School, Children’s Way, Bergvliet, as a fundraiser for the Masque Theatre.  Tickets will cost R80 per person and yummy food will be available for sale and, of course, we will have a cash bar.  The evening will be run by Caroline Blundell, who has many years’ experience in hosting Barn Dancing events – her father was the renowned entertainer Keith Blundell. For information on Caroline, check out her Internet site on www.barndance.co.za.  So dust off your Stetsons, pull on your Long Johns, grab all your friends and family, and come dance – let’s make this a celebration and raise as much as we can for the theatre we all love.  Tickets and are available at the theatre or through myself (021 7977286, 0827892281, everon@absamail.co.za or Sue Hallinan (021 7809223, 0846217833, suecater@telkomsa.net).


Quite a number of birthdays next month!


Belinda Batt and myself are both turning 50 years young (me on the 4th and Belinda on the 6th) and I thought we would take a look at some significant happenings in the month and year of our birth:  tons of actors and actresses born on those specific dates – on the 4th, Buster Keaton (1895), Charlton Heston (1923) and Susan Sarandon (1946) and on the 6th, Janet Gaynor (1906), Carole Lombard (1908) and Britt Ekland (1942).  White South Africans voted to make this country a republic; Dr. Michael Woodruff carried out the first successful kidney transplant at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary AND the plastic garbage bag was invented!!


Angela Lee-Wright was born on the third as were Thomas Wolfe (novelist, 1900) and Chubby Checker (“The Twist”, 1941).  The 10th sees Brenda Commins turning a year older together with Helen Hayes (actress, 1900) and Sean Lennon (son of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, 1975).  Peter Sharp was born on the 13th and shares with Margaret Thatcher (UK Prime Minister, 1925) and Paul Simon (Simon and Garfunkel, 1942).  Gillian Charman shares the 14th with Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower (34th US President, 1890), Lillian Gish (actress, 1896) and Roger Moore (actor, 1928).  John Hitchcock is on the 15th as are P.G. Wodehouse (writer, 1881), Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters, 1946) and Chris de Burgh (“Lady in Red”, 1948).  Karen Riley on the 23rd: Johnny Carson (Tonight Show, 1925) and “Weird Al” Yankovic (1959) – sorry, but who the devil is that???.  The 30th sees Joline Blignaut, Ezra Pound (poet and critic, 1885) and Henry Winkler (actor, 1934).


1931 saw the invention of Scrabble, 1958 was the year of cling wrap/film

& pizza delivery and 1982 saw the Post-it note come into being!

I will leave you to match the birth years to the people!!

Closing with a little more on Heritage Day: on 24 September 2009

a 507 carat white diamond was recovered at the illustrious Cullinan mine,

which has produced the majority of the world’s most famous and important diamonds, and was aptly named The Cullinan Heritage.

And that’s it for this month, guys!


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