Woordfees: Nêrens, Noord-Kaap

March 11, 2018

Nico Scheepers se uitsonderlike Nêrens, Noord-Kaap gaan oor drie broers wat mekaar ná jare weer sien. Die verstommende teks, toneelspel en aanbieding maak saam van dié toneelstuk ’n onvergeetlike teaterondervinding. Die stuk is ’n US Woordfees-produksie en kaartjies kan deur Computicket of by die deur aangekoop word.

 

Three brothers are set to reunite on the family farm in the Namaqualand region for their father’s 60th birthday, and their story (written and directed by Nico Scheepers) is brought to life with a great deal of tenderness and compassion. The atmospheric opening scene, replete with dramatic lighting changes and stirring film music, heralds the imminent unfolding of an epic tale, and the next 70 minutes do not disappoint even for a moment. In fact, time seems to stop and speed up simultaneously as this beautifully conceived and expertly executed production grips the viewer from start to finish.

Frans (Geon Nel) stayed behind to take care of the farm (and its owner, the men’s crotchety father). Frans’s easy-going, optimistic nature makes for some genuinely warm moments, and Nel inhabits this no-nonsense character and his Namaqualand cadence with ease without ever letting his performance slip into stereotypical ‘stupid farmer’ territory. Ronnie (Albert Pretorius) moved to Cape Town and managed to make a complete mess of his life. Here, Pretorius brings a remarkable deal of pathos to a role that could easily have turned into an overdone mess in less steady hands. Andries (De Klerk Oelofse) is the prodigal son returning from foreign lands, and Oelofse’s brilliantly understated performance plucks at all the right heartstrings.

 

This play is an exceedingly rare animal: A family saga without so much as a hint of melodrama or any of the usual trappings of the genre. The bare stage is inhabited only by the three actors, each standing in his own spotlight, and this arrangement suits the rich text perfectly. The writing and delivery never descend to crassness or an appeal to the lowest common denominator to get laughs, and Scheepers’s marvellously poetic language deftly incorporates landscape, memory, and redemption as themes. Add to this three outstanding performances, and you really couldn’t ask for a more well-crafted show.

 

Nêrens, Noord-Kaap is part of the US Woordfees and can be seen on the 11th of March. Tickets are available through Computicket or at the door.

 

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