Press: Classic Chekov in Afrikaans at the Baxter

September 14, 2015

With a cast who really lives up to one of the first true modern plays, Saartjie Botha is proud to present the Afrikaans translation of Anton Chekov’s drama Die Seemeeu (The Gull). This classic tale of unrequeted love, yearning for success, discrediting and realisation played for sold-out theatres at Aardklop (Potchefstroom), the KKNK (Oudtshoorn) and Woordfees (Stellenbosch). And the audiences were loving it. Now it’s is Capetonians turn experience it – winner of two Fiëstas and two Kannas as well as an Aardvark award for ground breaking work – in full-colour, 3D and surround sound from 20 to 31 October.


Irina Arkadina (Sandra Prinsloo), a successful actress who knows her star – and her body – will not be shining forever, brakes away for a short visit to her brother’s, Pjotr Sorin (Marius Weyers), farm. With her is author Boris Trigorin (Alyzzander Fourie), a virile man ... with a wandering eye. And then there is Irina’s son, Konstantin Treplyov (Albert Pretorius), who yearns for a girl who doesn’t want him and for fame that is not meant to be.


Add a flirty nymph (Rolanda Marais), a farm manager (Deon Lotz) without an ounce of emotional intelligence (well, if Martelize Kolver was your wife, you might have acted the same way), ‘n moody teenage daughter (Cintaine Schutte) who will drive any parent to drink, and you start to get the picture. Oh, don’t forget the forward teacher (Geon Nel) and the very clumsy doctor (Gerben Kamper). And the vodka. Oh, the vodka!


Die Seemeeu was the first of Chekov’s four, great dramas – and nearly also his last. On the opening night in 1896 it was so badly received that he turned his back on theatre. But in 1898 it was brought to stage again – this time with great acclaim for Chekov’s ability as playwright.


We haven’t seen such a team of heavyweight actors together on South African stage for quite some time. Sandra Prinsloo and Marius Weyers recently wowed audiences with their masterly performances in Wie’s bang vir Virginia Woolf? (Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?). Albert Pretorius and Rolanda Marais each got a Fiësta award as best actor (male and female), also for their performances in Die Seemeeu. At the KKNK Cintaine Schutte and Deon Lotz each were awarded a Kanna for their great performances and at Aardklop director Christiaan Olwagen won the Beeld-Aardvark for ground breaking work for Die Seemeeu.


But the real prize goes to the talent of a playwright like Anton Chekov, who managed to put real, well-known and human emotions such as pain, longing, hope and cul de sacs to paper in such a timeless way. With Charl-Johan Lingenvelder’s very creative soundtrack and costumes who defines each character to the T, Die Seemeeu becomes a drama for 2015, Cape Town, and addresses issues we read of everyday in the newspapers.


Die Seemeeu is at the Baxter theatre from 20 to 31 October at 19:30. The age restriction is 14 years. The running time is 145 minutes, including a 20 minute interval. English sur-titles.


Tickets for Die Seemeeu cost R80 – R150 and is for sale through Computicket or at the Baxter’s ticket office on 021 685 7880. Regular discounts for Friends of the Baxter, block bookings for 10 or more, and pensioners. Students pay R60 (Tuesday – Thursday) upon producing a valid student card.




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