Woordfees: So Ry Miss Daisy, a theatrical journey of note

March 5, 2017

Dit is verseker ‘n fees om Sandra Prinsloo en John Kani, twee Suid-Afrikaanse teater legendes, saam op die verhoof te sien. En as dit dan nog in ‘n briljante stuk soos So Ry Miss Daisy is, dan het jy verseker die boerpot losgeslaan met die dubbeldoor van die hoogste gehalte vermaaklikheid. Die interaksie tussen Sandra Prinsloo (Miss Daisy) en John Kani (haar chauffeur Hoke) is elektries. Dié merwaardige stuk, gebaseer op die film Driving Miss Daisy, is steeds grens verskuiwend en relevant, en daag mense uit om hulle eie bevryde (voor)oordele op die proef te stel, soos Miss Daisy dan ook doen. Dit is voorwaar pragtig om te sien hoe die, aanvanklik moeilike, vrienskap tussen die twee karakters blom tot iets besonders spesiaal. Daar is slegs twee Woordfees vertonings oor: 5 Maart (10:00) en 6 Maart (11:00). Daarna is dit by die Fugard Teater te sien tot 31 Maart.

 

When two South African legends take the stage, you can’t but sit in awe of the skill and passion they bring to any play. When those two legends are Sandra Prinsloo and John Kani, and the play is So Ry Miss Daisy, even that awelike reaction is amplified to something almost otherworldly, as they transcend normal theatrical chemistry and still today keep shifting boundaries and perspectives, play after play, performance after performance. To say that the onstage partnership between Sandra Prinsloo and John Kani, in this Christiaan Olwagen directed play, is vibrantly electric is a bit of an understatement. In fact, it almost has a life of its own. Sparks definitely fly, are absorbed, recharged and discharged again and again, to great delight of an utterly engaged and very amused audience. At a very steady theatrical pace the dynamic of their characters, Miss Daisy and her chauffeur Hoke, changes from explosive to mutually re-energising, as it reshapes their yin/yang interaction, and sees them ultimately become the best of friends.

The fiercely cheeky wit of Sandra Prinsloo’s character and her phenomenal interpretation thereof, with pursed lip precision that would give Meryl Streep a Devil Wears Prada run for her money, leaves the audience in constant fits of giggles. The presence of the very feisty Miss Daisy is balanced by the endearing and very patient nature of John Kani’s Hoke, who grabs the attention and the heart from his first utterances on stage, because of the character but more so because of that quintessential John Kani trait of amplifying the true nature and personality of every character he makes his own. Miss Daisy and Hoke are brought together by her caring yet slightly frustrated son, played by Jacques Bessenger. At his wits end with his mother’s insistence on driving, and ultimately crashing, cars, he hires Hoke to drive her where she, with much resistance, wants to be. It must be said that Bessenger very impressively holds his own in his interaction with these two theatre giants, which can’t be an easy task and is definitely noteworthy.

 

At the end you note the gradual ‘power’ shift, realising that Miss Daisy was never truly in the driving seat in this dynamic, but that Hoke was rather the teacher she needed, and ultimately they were each the friend the other so longed for. It is heart-warming to see their friendship slowly (and to great audience delight, boisterously) develop, shifting from their initial focus on their difference, more so accentuated by Miss Daisy, to mutual understanding and common ground. In this wonderful Afrikaans adaptation and translation by Saartjie Botha of the original screenplay Driving Miss Daisy, their adventure is linked to the last phase of Madiba’s long walk to freedom before his presidential era, which is mirrored in their personal journey that is very much their own long drive to freedom.

 

This portrait of a 25 year friendship is perfectly framed by the superb sound (Charl-Johan Lingenfelder), lighting (Wolf Britz), costume (Birrie le Roux) and stage design (Rocco Pool) vision that brings that added bit of magic to any great theatre experience.

 

So Ry Miss Daisy is already a festival favourite with packed venues and deserving standing ovations. With only two Woordfees performances left for this production, on 5 March (10:00) and 6 March (11:00)¸ you best get booking at Computicket right this second. Thereafter it heads on over to the Fugard Theatre for a Cape Town run until 31 March 2017.

 

 

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