Woordfees: Half Leeg

March 11, 2018

’n Vrou se grappige laatnag-vertelling ontaard vinnig in ’n dieper ondersoek na die toestand waarin haar lewe is. 

‘This party’s clearly been going on for too long,’ one can’t help but think even before the play (written by Tara Notcutt and translated by Amy Jeptha) starts. A decidedly haggard-looking woman (Cintaine Schutte) wearing angel wings and a plastic tiara sits on stage as the audience find their seats. She takes unsure sips from a glass, consults her phone, and sprays perfume all over herself to mask the tell-tale odours of a long night. 

It soon transpires that the miserable woman sitting alone at a bar not long before closing time has been forced to endure a nauseating bachelorette ritual on a party bus. (The sound and lighting design evoke the required tacky setting perfectly.) As her monologue —supposedly about the night she’s just had, but actually about a lot more than just one boring party— reveals more and more about the woman’s life, the true tragedy of her existence slowly starts to become evident. Schutte brings a lot of tenderness and empathy to a role that could easily trip up a less wary actor. Her antics are amusing but not tasteless, and she remains compelling even when the play’s overall energy dips a bit halfway through. Her portrayals of a number of different characters are also very successful and often truly funny. 

While entertaining and at times quite touching, this production is let down somewhat by what seems to be a rather ramshackle translation of the original English text. A more consistently idiomatic approach would certainly have made a difference in terms of the overall impact of the play. Nevertheless, this production turns into a memorable experience thanks to Schutte’s energetic performance.

Half Leeg was part of the US Woordfees. You can see it next at the KKNK. Tickets are available through Computicket.


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