Good theatre is a hard act to follow

Beauty and the Beast at the People's Theatre. Picture: Supplied

Beauty and the Beast at the People's Theatre. Picture: Supplied

Up north, you have a choice of three of four show houses churning out both classic and modern pieces.

We are often asked whether we miss the hustle and bustle of the Place of Gold and Gangsters. Maybe the gold, in the form of better employment packages in this neck of the woods. Job for job, wages here are nothing but exploitation by greedy bosses.

The cost of living here is no lower than in the big cities. Sad story.

That aside, what we do crave is good theatre. Up north, you have a choice of three of four show houses churning out both classic and modern pieces offering a special brand of entertainment only accomplished through live theatre performed by real people.

Talking of which, if you’re lucky enough to get front-row seats, you even see and feel the spittle ejected by overzealous screaming lovers or victims being choked by murderers.

During one show, an actor with glass of faux whisky in his hand, accidentally tripped, the yellow, sugared contents cascading over the fancy frock of a lady in the line of fire. Her shrieks and the laughter of the audience added a new dimension to what should have been a serious romantic period piece taking place at some royal castle. See, you’re part of the show.

Okay, there are theatres in smaller towns, but probably due to lack of funds and poor attendances they tend to mainly feature traveling bands and singers who eke out an existence doing one-night stands. But no proper theatre. You can take so much of Steve Hofmeyr and Elvis Blue (as good as they are). Maybe Nataniël comes close.

What has happened to aspirant repertory players? Do they only reside in the big cities? What about retired actors and writers who, in another life, were involved in stage productions? Instead of waxing nostalgic and staring at sepia photos and reviews of their acting days, they should come out of a brown study and establish a platform for younger potential actors.

To see any prodigious pieces on plank we need to fly to the cities. But empty piggy banks say aikona.

So, until someone comes up with the goodies, we’ll stay home, read fingered exchange books or watch re-runs of Rocky and Vetkoek Paleis.

Heard of an aspiring actor who turned thief. He broke into a Joburg theatre. Evidently he stole the spotlight. A plot for stage with Jacob Zuma as the thief? Heh-heh.

Cliff Buchler.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

 

today in print