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Archive for October, 2011

Claremont Chat

http://www.claremontdramatic.wordpress.com

October 2011 – Number 103

Well here we are: the merry month of October, and all is go, go go! You’re probably wondering why The Chat is looking a little different this month? André Thomas is living la dolce vita in Berlin at the moment, and so I have taken on the Chat duties in his absence, or absinth (whichever is more applicable?). By all accounts “la dolce vita” may be an understatement, have a great time André! We will of course, miss you.

We at Claremont are having a very busy time with our production of Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables in rehearsal. Director Sue Bolton and her cast are hard at work to stage this truly great play. It’s Terence Rattigan’s centenary year and so it’s fitting that this piece should be tackled by CDS and Sue Bolton. More about the play later.

The audition for our next production, Marvin’s Room, is fast approaching. Read on for more details…

We also have CDS members “out there” so to speak. I along with Wendy Goddard, Michele Belknap, Su Cunningham and Anton Schäfer will soon be treading the boards in the MVDS’s production of Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County. This play is very new to audiences outside of the USA. It was premiered as recently as 2007. Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize Nominee for his earlier play, Man From Nebraska. Again, more about this later.

Clifford Graham

Sad News

Bruce Edwards passed away on 22 September, and a very touching memorial service was held at the Masque on Friday 30 September. It was lovely to see so many people there, paying tribute to a man who was so passionate about everything he did. Much love to June and family.

Inter-Society Quiz

Claremont Dramatic Society entered three teams into this year’s Inter-Society Quiz. I think most of us enjoyed a great evening but were “sobered” by the questions posed and realised just how little we really know about our shared passion. Thanks to Jay Heale, The Claremont “Clod Hoppers” (team name) were able to score a perfect five points in only one category! That being “Shakespearean Quotes”.
Final results saw Fish Hoek taking the win with 68 points. Claremont’s three teams, Claremont Clod Hoppers, Claremont 2 and 3 finishing with 36, 37 and 43 points respectively. Thanks to all those CDS members who put their reputations on the line for the society!

CDS Update

You may or may not have noticed – but CDS has a strong online presence. It’s not only our blog getting hits at http://www.claremontdramatic.wordpress.com, but also our Facebook page – make sure you go and “Like” it, and follow interesting updates: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Claremont-Dramatic-Society/252816564804

Our move to sending newsletters from a centralised email address is well underway, with 47 people having signed up already. If you know anyone who would like to receive our newsletters, they can subscribe by clicking on this link: http://groups.google.com/group/claremont_dramatic_society/topics and then clicking on ‘Join this group’ (on the right hand side). Their details will not be visible to anyone, and they will not get any spam.

Apropos things online, I have started a website called The Monday Missile Dot Coza—a theatre, art and entertainment journal. Feel free to visit and get news, insights and reviews from the theatre and music world: http://www.mondaymissile.co.za or visit the Facebook Page: Monday Missile Dot Coza.

Members’ Evenings

Feedback from our last members’ evening on Friday 30 September. Contributed by Jane De Sousa:

The last members’ evening was interesting, thought provoking and very entertaining. Sheldon Cross and Penelope Youngleson presented Kismet – a piece of collaborative theatre. As both are a combination of talented actor and creative theatre makers (read on to see what this term means), Kismet was a clever, funny and original piece of theatre consisting of a series of monologues and occasional dialogues that explore the identity of young white South Africans. Sheldon and Penelope used humour very effectively to explore uncomfortable aspects of White South African identity, and balance the more serious dramatic moments. The staging of Kismet was clever without being pretentious and provided a supportive framework for the different performances. Sheldon and Penelope are to be congratulated on developing and thanked for presenting this engaging piece of theatre.

After their performance and a much needed glass of reviving spirit, Sheldon and Penelope answered questions from the audience. This was a great opportunity to discuss and explore our common passion. All the questions and discussions were insightful and interesting. For me, the difference between the traditional actor and the newly emerged theatre maker was particularly interesting. The traditional actor is cast and directed, giving a performance guided by an existing script and the director’s interpretation of that script. The theatre maker is both writer and performer, creating theatre to explore issues that interest them and characters they wish to play. Theatre making enables performers to create pieces of theatre that are original and provide a vehicle to showcase and explore their talents.

Thank you to Sheldon, Penelope and the CDS Committee for a fabulous members evening that provided us with an opportunity to enjoy, indulge and revel in our love of theatre.

Our next members’ evening on Friday 21 October will be a performance of I am Amazing by Rebecca Dallas and Cameron Hutchison. It is a comedy about an eccentric doctor preparing for a practice inspection. The day becomes rather chaotic as a result – with mistaken identities adding to the confusion.

Jemma Kieser directs the cast of six – the doctor, receptionist, inspector and three patients. I am Amazing is the 2011 winner of the Westerford High School One-Act Play Festival, which was held in September. Rebecca and Cameron have been awarded honours in drama by Westerford, and have written four plays for the Festival, two of which have won the Best Play Award.

This promises to be an entertaining evening, giving us a sneak preview of the talent that is coming through our schools, which will hopefully continue to flourish after matric. And this is also an opportunity for learners to see how their passion for theatre can continue, through societies like CDS.
The usual yummy snacks will be available, as will the cash bar. There is no entry fee. Please RSVP to Pam Burger on 082 488 0442 before 18 October, so she can make sure there’s enough grub to go around.

The evening will start at 19h30 for 20h00 – and remember that you are welcome to bring guests and new thespians (and even ‘old’ ones!).

I am very encouraged by the way the member’s evenings have worked out over the past few months. All have been performances of a very high calibre. That’s what we are about, theatre, and I love the fact that we are doing just that, theatre!

The following member’s evening will also be our Christmas party! Can this be believed? Where has the year gone? So many plays, so little time!

Friday 2 December: I will be putting together a little performance piece entitled “Sonnets and Sound” Fourteen Sonnets and a soundscape, not to be missed? Times etc. will be announced in the next Chat. Once again the words of The Bard will reverberate through our collective audio senses.

AUDITION NOTICE

MARVIN’S ROOM by Scott McPherson

March 16 – 24 2012 at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg

directed by Brenda Gray

Audition date: Saturday 22 October (Call backs: Saturday 29 October)

Time: 2.30 p.m.

Place: The Hok, Campground Road, Claremont (Under the bridge)

Marvin’s Room had its premiere in Chicago in 1990 and went on to national acclaim, winning the 1992 Outer Critics Circle award for best play, the 1992 Drama Desk award for best play and the Joseph Jefferson award in Chicago for best original work. Described as a ‘mordantly funny comedy’ and ‘a zany and emotionally-affecting story about death, aging parents, reconciliation, and the healing power of selfless love’, it was made into a film in 1996 with Dianne Keaton, Meryl Streep, Leonardo di Caprio and Robert de Nero.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

BESSIE: 40s. Takes care of her father and aunt (large role)
LEE: late 30s. Bessie’s sister. A hairdresser who is about to get her degree in cosmetology. (large role)
RUTH: 70s Bessie’s aunt – frail and delightfully dotty. (medium role)
DOCTOR CHARLOTTE: Psychiatrist – head of the mental clinic. (small/cameo role)
DR WALLY: 50s -could be older, because he is very dithery. (medium role)
HANK: 17 Lee’s son. In a mental clinic for burning down his mother’s house.(medium role)
CHARLIE: 12 Hank’s younger brother. Is ‘doing poorly at school because he reads too much’. (small role)
BOB: Dr Wally’s brother and receptionist. A ‘sheltered employment’ candidate. (cameo role)
RETIREMENT HOME DIRECTOR: m/f (small/cameo role)
MARVIN: Bessie’s bedridden father. (Non-speaking part, but onstage a good deal of the time)

Enquiries: phone Brenda: 021 6863554 Cell: 083 3300670
Separate Tables

Masque Theatre 18 to 26 November.
Directed by Sue Bolton
Set Design by David Davidson
Lighting and Sound Design by Gary Fargher
Stage Manager: Clifford Graham.
Bookings 021 788 1898

The action of the story takes place in a seaside hotel on the English South Coast in 1954. Living there, are many permanent residents from all walks of life, many of whom are lonely, or needy. Miss Cooper the manageress, is unable to remain aloof from their troubles, and endeavours to help them, or just give them the courage to face life.
The characteristics and foibles of the diverse personalities are superbly brought to life by Terence Rattigan’s astute dialogue and understanding of people, and we are reminded of the attitudes and morals of the time. We have a wonderful cast to bring it all to life for you.
Of course when this play was written , Britain was bankrupt from the war, there was so much that needed to be re- built, and so many countless thousands who had died, which left a void which would take time to fill. Moral attitudes where conservative [almost puritanical] and the social class system was still firmly in place, but was showing signs of cracks, where the ‘upper’’ classes were no longer deferred to as much as they had in the past. But every one was feeling the pinch, and was careful with money.

Get Thee to the Masque!

7 – 15 October: Hayfever by Noel Coward . Directed by Alastair Duff for Fish Hoek Dramatic Society. A deliciously wicked comedy of ill-manners! The Bliss family invites four wildly different guests down to their country house for the weekend … with hilarious results! Coward said that this delightful comedy is considered by many to be his best comedy… it is very clever, and an assured crowd pleaser.

Friday 28 Oct. to 5 Nov. 2011

Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County

Directed by birga Thomas for MVDS

Bookings 021 788 1898

Award-winning poet Beverly Weston and his pill-popping wife Violet set the tone for a never boring, always astounding reunion of their large family. Catty and foul-mouthed Violet’s claws have turned her hot tin roof into an ice sheet long ago – and now, with the Weston family around her (and each contributing to the melting-pot of insults and betrayal), the temperature in their home heads relentlessly towards boiling point, on the hot Plains of the USA in August 2007 …

When the extended Weston clan reunites in Oklahoma after the disappearance of their patriarch, the gathering explodes soon “in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. This play unflinchingly – and uproariously – explores the dark side” of a quintessentially dysfunctional American family in the 21st century. Critics say that this emotional rollercoaster measures up to O’Neill, Tennessee Williams and Albee, and they call it the “first great American large-scale drama of this millennium”. To quote the trailer for the Broadway production: “One bitch of a family reunion – you’ll recoil in shock, you’ll cry and you’ll laugh. Whatever your take, you’ll never forget August: Osage County”.

Our Hok Matters!

Many members have noticed that slowly but surely, small changes are been made at The Hok.
We now have a small lighting setup for all those theatrical evenings we are planning. Many thanks to Gary Fargher, Brett Radloff and Wendy Goddard for arranging the procurement of this “little gem” – so useful! We will be expanding its capabilities as we progress. Who knows? One day we have a bona fide
performance space… okay can’t help myself, watch this space.

Also, we have been able to add a proper urn to our inventory. A bit of a search, but I was finally able to track one down at Glomail. This was made possible through a gift from Beren Belknap (Michele’s son) for the use of the Hok as a rehearsal space. So The Hok is being put to good use!

Our new addition: An electric air pot. Easy to use (honestly) and a good energy saver. Once boiled, the thermos facility keeps water hot enough for hot drinks for a good few hours. Don’t be afraid of it, the instruction manual is on the shelf behind the bar. It’s easy to follow!

Bottoms up!

Oh dear, parting is always such sweet sorrow, here’s hoping you get as much pleasure out of reading this month’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Chat” as I have had putting it together,

Your erstwhile scribe,

Clifford Graham

Dates to diarise

Thursday 13 – Saturday 15 October: Hayfever at the Masque
Friday 21 October 7.30pm: Members’ evening – I am Amazing
Saturday 22 October 2.30pm: Audition: Marvin’s Room
Friday 28 October 7.30pm: August: Osage County opens
Friday 18 November 8pm: Separate Tables opens
Friday 2 December 7.30pm: Members’ evening – Sonnets and Sound

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CLAREMONT DRAMATIC SOCIETY

AUDITION NOTICE
for
MARVIN’S ROOM by Scott McPherson

to be staged from March 16 – 24, 2012 at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg
directed by Brenda Gray

Audition date: Saturday 22 October (Call backs: Saturday 29 October)

Time: 2.30 p.m.

Place: The Hok, Campground Road, Claremont (Under the bridge)

“Marvin’s Room” had its premiere in Chicago in 1990 and went on to national acclaim, winning the 1992 Outer Critics Circle award for best play, the 1992 Drama Desk award for best play and the Joseph Jefferson award in Chicago for best original work. Described as a ‘mordantly funny comedy’ and ‘a zany and emotionally-affecting story about death, aging parents, reconciliation, and the healing power of selfless love’, it was made into a film in 1996 with Dianne Keaton, Meryl Streep, Leonardo di Caprio and Robert de Nero.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

BESSIE: 40s. Takes care of her father and aunt (large role)

LEE, late 30s. Bessie’s sister. A hairdresser who is about to get her degree in cosmetology. (large role)

RUTH: 70s Bessie’s aunt – frail and delightfully dotty. (medium role)

DOCTOR CHARLOTTE Psychiatrist – head of the mental clinic. (small/cameo role)

DR WALLY: 50s -could be older, because he is very dithery. (medium role)

HANK: 17 Lee’s son. In a mental clinic for burning down his mother’s house.(medium role)

CHARLIE: 12 Hank’s younger brother. Is ‘doing poorly at school because he reads too much’. (small role)

BOB: Dr Wally’s brother and receptionist. A ‘sheltered employment’ candidate. (cameo role.)

RETIREMENT HOME DIRECTOR. m/f (small/cameo role)

MARVIN: Bessie’s bedridden father. (Non-speaking part, but onstage a good deal of the time)

Enquiries: phone: 021 6863554 Cell: 083 3300670

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Hi there readers

Spring has finally sprung in Cape Town! Our days are getting warmer. Our nights are getting shorter. But us locals still await our imminent windy season. Let this blow away the winter cobwebs and winter blues…. Let it bring with it a gust of enthusiasm and eagerness. We have all learnt that change is one of the only constant facets of life. We need to try embrace change rather than resist it.

Honk! rehearsals are going strong despite the fact that over half the cast who were performing in Fiddler on the Roof had not attended rehearsals until 2 October 2011. Richard Whitaker has pulled out all the stops to produce an integral and huge part of the set in record time, prior to his work project which has taken him away to Natal for several months.

Tina Gough, Chairperson and Honk! Production Manager, who is enjoying herself in Australia, has left yours truly in charge…. Lets hope that any decisions made in her absence will meet with approval. We wish her a wonderful holiday and look forward to her safe return.

A Pinelands Players team of eager entrants to the Inter Society quiz, which takes place on 9 October 2011 at the Masque Theatre, will venture out and attempt to strut their stuff on the intelligence levels. Should anyone wish to support them, the cost is R20 which includes an arrival refreshment and snacks. The quiz starts at 6.15pm.

Just a reminder that our dear Shirley Nixon will be performing in Separate Tables at the Masque Theatre next month. Please remember to book your tickets for this show.

Please be advised that due to venue double bookings, the Line Dancing evening planned for 21 October 2011 has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience and will do our best to ensure that we make it up to you.

Keep looking ahead when bad things happen or when people hurt you. Forgiving others can only begin if you can learn to forgive yourself. Despite all our challenges and misfortunes, there is beauty and love surrounding us. Just open your eyes to it.

Tanya March (Chief Duck No 2)

Congratulations to all the Pinelands Players members who performed in Fiddler on the Roof. The production was outstanding, and you all deserve the accolades and awards that await you.

Your arduous journey from Anatevka has now reached the end, and we look forward to welcoming you all home to Pinelands Players again as we have missed you.

Here, the weather is warmer. There should be more food. And there are no pending housing re-location issues. But we know that your will long for your fellow town folk, your hats and your boots. May you unpack your luggage, keep the spirit in your hearts, cherish your friends and treasure the wonderful memories!

Honk! Fraternity. Maternity. Siblings.

Honk! has brought to the duck pond an exciting array of personalities to contribute to the funk
of the show. Highlighted is the large number of family members who have been cast in this
musical.
Bonny White (Ida) and her son Richard (Cat). Bonny, who graced the stage with Gilbert & Sullivan’s upbeat version of Pirates of Penzance in 1999 and thereafter two Pinelands Players Candelight Theatre productions, is now back to delight audiences with her gracious style and beautiful voice. Richard performed in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Annie last year, and recently starred in Pinelands Players’ Forever Plaid Candelight Theatre in July. Whilst he and mom get on very well, Richard did mention that initially he was a little concerned about how a teenager was expected to behave in the presence of a parent. However, after careful observation
as the rehearsals have continued, it is apparent that both mom and son will be completely comfortable with each other on the stage.

Andrew Weiss (Bullfrog) and his daughter Erin (Froglette). Andrew, one of Pinelands Players well versed comedians, was last seen on stage in Nobody’s Perfect staged by Milnerton Players. His vast experience over the years affords him the right to be the clown of the show (both on and off the stage). Andrew’s varying characterization has been seen in Gilbert & Sullivan’s 2005 production of Pirates of Penzance, and Pinelands Players’ Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Guys & Dolls. Erin’s debut in a production of this size does not in any way deter her enthusiasm or love for the stage, which has clearly been identified during numerous dancing performances through her dancing school.

Laura Bosman (Lowbutt) and her daughter Bryony (Duckling). Laura has appeared in Gilbert & Sullivan musicals and several Pinelands Players productions some of which are Guys & Dolls, A Christmas Carol and most recently The Wizard of Oz. Bryony has performed in the latter two productions with her mom, and when Laura was asked how she felt about having her daughter perform with her, she replied “It is magic! Bryony loves the stage and it is so wonderful to share her passion with her”. Laura however did mention that “sometimes I worry about the adult conversation and language that gets spoken, but hey, that’s life of the theatre”.

Nigel Stevenson (Turkey) and his daughter Elizabeth (Froglette). Nigel, relatively well known in Pinelands Players productions such as Red Hot in Amsterdam and Preeoudly Seeouff Effrikan, is dedicated to his roles. Elizabeth is 10 years old and is in Grade 5 at Pinehurst Primary school where she has performed in some school productions. Father and daughter performed together in Gigi at the Masque Theatre earlier this year. Elizabeth said “I love doing shows, and as there is no school show this year, I am so pleased to be doing
Honk!.” When asked how she felt with her dad being at rehearsals, Elizabeth remarked “I feel more comfortable with him being there”. Not too phased about year-end exams, this bright Froglette will cope just fine with whatever is thrown at her.

Benita Faiers (Duckling) and her daughter Andrea (Duckling). Benita makes her debut on the stage, although she is renown for her contribution back stage at several Gilbert & Sullivan and Pinelands Players productions. A school teacher by day and after her husband Grant (also well known for his involvement in many shows as sound engineer), convinced her to get involved in 2004 back stage, she has never looked back. Benita is known for her enthusiasm together with her magical & happy disposition, which will stand her in good stead for this production. Andrea, cast as a Siamese princess at the age of six in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The King & I, and who also performed in Pinelands Players’ A Christmas Carol, is now sharing the
stage with her mom for the first time. Benita commented “This is her niche – Andrea was born singing, and not crying like other babies”.

Simoné du Toit (Duckling) and her daughter Zoë (Froglette). Simoné is thrilled to be able to perform again with her daughter and said “It is so special that we share something that we both love”. It has been six years since their last combined theatre performance due to varying reasons among which was their two year re-location to Saudia Arabia. This is the first Pinelands Players production for them. Simoné and Zoe both
had roles in Gilbert & Sullivan productions of Annie Get Your Gun and The King & I. Zoë, almost twelve years of age has only one concern about doing the show and that is “that I don’t always get to finish all my homework”.

Indya Gleeson (Froglette) and her older sister, Skyla (Froglette). Indya, aged eight and the youngest in the cast, loves dancing and gymnastics. Her debut on the stage was via Erin Weiss who encouraged her to audition for the show. When asked how she is coping she replied “The nicest part is when we dance. And it is nice to show our parents what we do. We make a concert for them and practice our moves”. Skyla aged
eleven regularly attends modern and hip-hop classes. Skyla is happy to be rehearsing with her younger sister, and mentioned “it feels really nice to do this together”. These delightful siblings have already made an impact and statement on the cast & crew.

Whether or not these castings was deliberate or by chance, this will make interesting rehearsals and audience viewing.

Notice to all cast members:
Under no circumstances will any family squabbling be tolerated.

By strict order (and guidance) of Queen Duck & her entourage of disciplinarians!

Opportunities
Drama and Musical Theatre growth!!
Our very own Luella Holland, talented and beautiful, has now ventured out into the world of teaching. Her vast experience in the drama world allows her to share her knowledge and experience with others. Luealla has a BA drama and PGCE in drama teaching from UCT, and many will know her from productions such as Lady Windemere’s Fan, Gigi, Edges and her regular gig, Rock ‘n Rouge.
Any thespians who would like to learn more about the art of acting please take note. Luella Holland is offering one-on-one training for both those who would like to deepen their understanding of acting techniques and approaching roles in plays and musical theatre. Young and not-so-young are all welcome! Luealla can be reached on 082 484 6629 or luluellabella@gmail.com.

Intersociety Quiz hosted by Constantiaberg Theatre Players
Bookings gillfam@telkomsa.net or 021 712 4200

7 – 15 October 2011 Masque Theatre
Hayfever directed by Alastair Duff
Fish Hoek Dramatic Society

19 October 2011 Milnerton Playhouse
One Night Only
Milnerton Players
Bookings 021 557 2308

18 – 26 November 2011 Masque Theatre
Separate Tables directed by Sue Bolton
Claremont Dramatic Society (including Shirley Nixon)

25 Novermber – 10 December 2011 Milnerton Playhouse
Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits directed by Shiela McCormick
Bookings 082 267 1061

9 – 17 December 2011 Little Theatre
Honk! Directed by Kyla Thorburn
Pinelands Players

Calling for Directors and proposals for Candlelight Theatre 2012.
Dates have not been finalized but there is a possibility for two productions : mid-year and year end.
Enquiries & applications to be sent to Tina:
Bgough@telkomsa.net

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