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BWW Interview: Sandra Prinsloo At the Centre of Two Sold-Out Runs of KAMPHOER

Iconic South African performer on one-woman drama KAMPHOER – DIE VERHAAL VAN SUSAN NELL

BWW Interview: Sandra Prinsloo At the Centre of Two Sold-Out Runs of KAMPHOER

Following sold-out performances at The Market Theatre, the story of Susan Nell KAMPHOER enters two more sold-out weeks at the Roodepoort Theatre this week. Starring esteemed actress Sandra Prinsloo, she tells BroadwayWorld of her experience with the multi-award winning solo theatrical play.

BWW: To start off with, how has your performative and theatrical experience been over the past year? Is this a sudden return to live theatre for you?

Sandra: The last year has been difficult for all of us because theatres have mostly been closed. It's not exactly a sudden return as I have another one-woman show too called SPERTYD which is based on the last book by the famous writer Elsa Joubert, and I did perform that for a week in November 2020 in Cape Town. But yes, for KAMPHOER it's a sudden return and it's wonderful.

BWW: What has it been like performing in this "new normal"?

Sandra: I don't like the phrase "new normal" because I don't think there's anything normal! It's very heartening for me to be performing to full houses at both the Market and Roodepoort Theatres and also to be invited now to go to Sasolburg. It is of course very different because we talk about a full house and sold-out but it is only to 50 people. However, I am very thankful to those 50 people - it gives me hope for theatre.

BWW Interview: Sandra Prinsloo At the Centre of Two Sold-Out Runs of KAMPHOER

BWW: Let's talk about KAMPHOER. What drew you to this production?

Sandra: Basically what drew me to KAMPHOER was the story. This incredible story of Susan Nell; a journey that was so difficult and yet triumphant in the end. When I first read the story I thought it would make a fantastic movie and I was so thrilled when I was asked by Theatrerocket if I would consider doing it as a stage play. I think that although it is a historical story, it has such resonance with today still. Nothing has changed for women if you think about it.

BWW: How has the collaboration with director Lara Foot been?

Sandra: My collaboration with Lara has been wonderful. I think what I enjoy most about working with Lara is she has such an incredibly creative mind and she works inBWW Interview: Sandra Prinsloo At the Centre of Two Sold-Out Runs of KAMPHOER metaphor. She reminds me very much of the days of working with Barney Simon at The Market Theatre, and Lucille Gillwald because Lara was a protégé of Simon's and I can see why. They have the same approach to work. But I find her really so easy to work with too. She's not a temperamental person, she guides you carefully and pushes your boundaries but never makes you feel totally unsafe. Just slightly unsafe which is also a good place to be.

BWW: How is your experience on stage as a sole performer different from being part of a larger cast? Do you miss having castmates to perform against and perform with?

Sandra: Of course it is very different doing a one-person show. At the moment when I do a show like KAMPHOER I don't miss other cast members, but it is a great joy for me when I am in a bigger cast and I have other people to work with because one does become quite lonely in a one-woman show. Once you are on stage it doesn't really matter because the audience is there, but I think what one misses is the camaraderie in the dressing room and the chats and the friendships and bonds that are there.

BWW: The role of Susan Nell seems like quite a challenging one! What has been the hardest part for you in becoming Susan?

Sandra: The role of Susan Nell is quite challenging - it's more than quite, it's pretty challenging! I think the hardest part was to find out about Susan Nell, who is she? Although she is a historical character, she is also a real person that lived. There's very little that has been written about her because she was a very private person. There are very few photographs, just one or two that I have seen of her so one had to find and build and make a character because one doesn't know much about the historical person. I think the hardest part was coming to terms with the very deep emotional BWW Interview: Sandra Prinsloo At the Centre of Two Sold-Out Runs of KAMPHOERtrauma that she experienced in her life. But there again Lara was wonderful in helping and guiding me. We spoke to psychologists, I spoke to women who had undergone similar trauma, and slowly we found our way to creating the character Susan Nell.

BWW: What can audiences take away from KAMPHOER?

Sandra: What audiences can take away from KAMPHOER is hard for me to say being on stage but I think judging by the reaction I got, people are transfixed and very hard hit by this production and it certainly makes them think about women and a woman's predicament when it comes to gender based violence.

BWW: And lastly, are there any productions you are looking forward to being a part of this year?

Sandra: As I mentioned before, I have only done five days of my other one-woman show called SPERTYD and that has a whole life ahead of it but then KAMPHOER also has a life ahead of it! There have been invitations to Holland and possibly to Edinburgh and other places. It all depends on what happens with our COVID situation in the country. We are very much dependent on how much theatre will be allowed to return to normal.

Photo credit: Supplied

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