New Afrikaans Drama DIE DANS VAN DIE WATERMEID to Open at the Baxter Theatre
Amee Lekas's DIE DANS VAN DIE WATERMEID, which only existed on paper at the first editions of Kunste Onbeperk's script market, Teksmark, in Cape Town last year, will soon come to life as a fully-fledged production at the Baxter Theatre Centre. From the short extracts of fourteen scripts, Lekas's debut script was snapped up by the Nasional Afrikaans Theatre Initiative and the Baxter Theatre for further development. The run coincides with Kunste Onbeperk's second Teksmark.
DIE DANS VAN DIE WATERMEID is a heart-breaking story set against the backdrop of the picturesque Willowmore in the arid Klein Karoo where Lekas grew up. It offers a unique look at the people from the region in a script that is powerful and characterised by its beautiful language, without undermining the inherent simplicity of the region. The story revolves around how a community can hold on to their superstitions in spite of the influence of the church. It also addresses social issues, such as the struggle of young people today, with no prospects of a job or a better life, while their community sweeps things under the carpet, right under the nose of the church. Meanwhile, the rhythm of the water nymph's dance reverberates with the promise of deliverance when the rain comes.
Lekas has completed the text under the mentorship of the award-winning playwright, Saartjie Botha. In the process, she had the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of the water nymph, a mythical figure who wasn't only a messenger of a portent, but an integral part of a community's history. The story revolves around how they hold on to their superstitions in spite of the influence of the church. Lekas explains the incentive for writing the text as follows:
Only in my anxiety and frustration as an artist, did I first recognise the pain of others. Purely through the grace of telling the story of DIE DANS VAN DIE WATERMEID, did I have the opportunity to create something from my own distress in the hope that people will become aware of the pain of those around them.
Jason Jacobs (KALAHARI SWAN, IN WAG VAN, STOF ROOI), who received Kunste Onbeperk's 2016 award for New Voice in Theatre, directs the play under the mentorship of Lara Foot, director and CEO of the Baxter Theatre Centre.
The exciting cast includes Rehane Abrahams (WOMB OF FIRE, THE REAL PEOPLE), Abduragman Adams (SUIDOOSTER, NOEM MY SKOLLIE), Elton Landrew (KAT AND THE KINGS, BOESMAN AND LENA), Ephraim Gordon (DIE LAASTE KARRETJIEGRAF, BLOOD BROTHERS, Gretchen Ramsden (PORTET, AGAMEMNON) and Celeste Matthews-Wannenburgh (DISTRICT SIX - THE MUSICAL, SUIP!). Birrie le Roux will handle the set and costume design, with Patrick Curtis designing the lights and Pierre-Henri Wicomb designing the sound.
DIE DANS VAN DIE WATERMEID is produced by Cornelia Faasen and Hugo Theart on behalf of the National Afrikaans Theatre Initiative and the Baxter Theatre Centre. Faasen comments on the play:
Amee Lekas has a unique voice. Talking and listening to her at once gave me the sense of an artist who is equally blessed with a beautiful innocence and the wisdom and language ability of someone who is a thousand years old, such is her impact as a young writer. It felt as if the work called out to be staged, to be performed and to give a voice to many of the voiceless in our communities.
DIE DANS VAN DIE WATERMEID runs from 1 - 25 November in the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio. Tickets cost R120 and bookings are online through Computicket, by phone on 0861 915 8000, or in person at any Shoprite Checkers outlet nationwide. Early bird specials at R50 per ticket are available for shows up to and including 11 November. For block bookings, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or Carmen Kearns at 021 680 3993.