Sitting in the Baxter, blessed with an opportunity to experience (actually feel with my heart, not just see) Rondomskrik for the second time, the words of Stella Adler came to mind:
“The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation.”
Rondomskrik takes a look at the sadly short life of Antjie Fortuin (a character inspired by Anene Booysen, who was tragically raped and murdered), as seen through the eyes of a caring teacher Ms Jacobs. It challenges you to see the truth. It shows the social situations that led up to and followed Antjie’s life and death, robbed her of her future, and forced others to come to terms with reality. This it does from all perspectives, those who cared for her, and those who were suppose to care for her.
I want to say that this is a beautiful play, but it seems wrong to use the word “beautiful” to describe a powerful piece that calls on you to consider both the best and the worst side of humanity.
The text by Rachelle Greeff is “beautiful” in a sad (sometimes teary humorous) way, as it forces you to not only question the actions (or lack thereof) of the characters, but also of yourself in everyday life. What do you do to be the change you want to see in the world? Do you stand up for those who can’t speak or act for themselves? Are you an #UitkykAntie? It forces you to see the powerful beauty in the potential of people standing up for others.
Hennie van Greunen, with his magical way of directing a text into life, really has outdone himself in this production. Through his skill he empowers you as audience member to feel the story. He guides the text in a manner that truly lets the story speak for itself and so brings out the best in what is undoubtedly a powerful cast combination, with the magnificent Shaleen Surtie-Richards taking the lead and Lee-Ann van Rooy, Crystal Donna Roberts, Richard September not holding back with their brilliant performances either.
The play tells it like it is, no thrills! It just dishes up the truth which is always so easily ignored or forgotten after a media hype has died down. The story is appropriately laid bare by the smart artistic touches Nico Scheepers brings to the set design, soft touches that speak with great authority … oh those paper planes, the power of one paper plane gliding through the air, you holding your breath as you follow its path …
Rondomskrik is an in-your-face play that is actually inviting rather than offensive. You leave the theatre with a message, a challenge and a cause, rather than a feeling of discomfort that plays reflecting violent crimes can sometimes bring about. You walk out a patron with a purpose, red eyes and red nose aside, the mission statement is clear … #UitkykAntie or bust!
I took my friend Charmaine along to opening night and her teary reaction was on par with mine the first time this play touched my heart. She had this to say:
“Rondomskrik gives an open and honest look at society’s contribution to crimes committed against the vulnerable amongst us. The good, the bad and the ugly. The impact of its message is like being hit in the gut and you cannot walk out without a decision to be a positive force in society. #UitkykAntie”
So grab your tissues, get your bum in a Baxter Theatre seat before 22 November and got get schooled in empathy and what the impact of turning a blind eye, for even only a second, can be on a life with so much potential. Do it!
Scene it by Barbara Loots.