Amee Lekas’s Die Dans van die Watermeid (The Dance of the Water Maiden), which only existed on paper at last year’s Kunste Onbeperk’s first Teksmark (script market) in Cape Town, will soon come to life as a fully-fledged production at the Baxter Theatre Centre. From the short extracts of 14 scripts, Lekas’s debut script was snapped up by the Nasionale Afrikaanse Teater-inisiatief (NATi) and the Baxter Theatre for further development.
The audience was totally overwhelmed by the beautiful language of Die dans van die watermeid and by the heartbreaking story set against the backdrop of the picturesque Willowmore in the arid Klein Karoo of Lekas’s childhood. It offers a unique look at the people from the region in a script that is powerful, without undermining the inherent simplicity.
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.
Die dans van die Watermeid also addresses social issues, such as today’s young people who struggle without the prospect of a job or a better life, while communities sweep 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 explains the incentive for writing the text as follows: “Only in my anxiety and frustration as an artist, I first recognised the pain of others. Purely through the grace of telling the story of Die dans van die Watermeid I had 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, who recently received Kunste Onbeperk’s award for a new voice in theatre, is the director, under the mentorship of Lara Foot, director and CEO of the Baxter Theatre Centre. The exciting cast includes Rehane Abrahams, Abduragman Adams, Elton Landrew, Ephraim Gordon, Gretchen Ramsden, Celeste Matthews and Deidre Jantjies. Birrie le Roux and Patrick Curtis, award-winning designers, respectively designed the costumes, and the set and lighting.
The run coincides with Kunste Onbeperk’s second Teksmark, supported by NATi and the Baxter. Early bird special available for shows up to an including 11 November 2017 at R50 per ticket.
Die dans van die watermeid runs from 1 to 25 November in the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio. Early-bird discounts are now available. Book at Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.co.za or at any Shoprite or Checkers. For block bookings contact Sharon on 021 680 3962, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Carmen Kearns at 021 680 3993, email email@example.com.