Athol Fugard is one of South Africa’s most relevant and prolific playwrights and has written many plays that accurately and touchingly convey the challenges of being human in a difficult world. Hello and Goodbye is one such play which explores the relationship of two down and out siblings who haven’t seen each other in several years.
Hello and Goodbye was originally written and performed in the 1960s, and is a play traditionally set in Port Elizabeth. Johnnie and Hester Smit are estranged siblings who haven’t had contact since Hester left their family home in Valley Road. Their mother died when they were both young and their father had his leg blown off in a dynamite explosion. Johnnie has since become his father’s primary caregiver while Hester has been seeking her fortune in the big city, desperate to escape the poverty of her family home. Unaware that their father has recently died, she returns to Valley Road for the first time in many years.
Hello and Goodbye was last performed at the Playhouse in 2005 under the direction of the legendary Molly Mohr and was an incredible success, garnering many awards. The Playhouse will again be presenting this play in 2017, but with a twist. The script has been edited in order to exclude references to a specific era or time in order to focus on the relationship between the siblings and to explore the universal issue of the human condition. The simple and stripped down set adds to the essential theme and lends the play a somewhat absurd, Beckettish feel.
The very talented Winand Grundling has specially composed the music for this production. Winand is one of the newest Music teachers at Parel Vallei High School and is a highly accomplished organist nationally and internationally. He has released three albums and has received two Kanna awards at the KKNK. He is currently the organist of the Dutch Reformed Church Stellenbosch (Welgelegen) and is an accompanist for various choirs and artists.
Darryl Spijkers, known for his inspired directing and dazzling productions at The Playhouse will be moving offstage to tackle the role of Johnnie Smit. Between directing his own shows, teaching English at Hottentots Holland High School, coaching drummies and performing his duties as chairman at the Playhouse, he has found the time to fulfil his dream of playing this role.
Annelie van Zyl, Drama teacher and head of culture at Parel Vallei High School, will be performing opposite Darryl as Hester Smit. Annelie is also known for writing and directing her own plays for Parel Vallei’s busy drama department. Her most recent play, Van Ons Moeders enjoyed significant success and awards on the various stages of the teenage theatre festival circuit. She is a formidable writer, director and performer.
Both of these actors have significant experience on and off stage and are an undeniably dynamic duo as the Smit siblings.
Yanou Pienaar, English and Drama teacher at Parel Vallei High School, is the director and the play will run at the Masque Theatre from the 11th to the 13th of May. There are only 4 performances, evenings at 8pm and Saturday at 3pm and 8pm. Tickets cost R80 each. Book your tickets at www.masquetheatre.co.za, by calling 021 788 1898 or by emailing email@example.com.