Scene It: Perspective challenging 'Krotoa, Eva van de Kaap'

February 14, 2019

Krotoa, Eva van de Kaap, written by Sylvia Vollenhoven and directed by Basil Appollis, is a multilingual (English, Afrikaans, Dutch and Khoekhoe with English subtitles), intercultural, and perspective changing exploration of the neglected and shared Dutch/South African history of Krotoa as a Khoe translator in service of Jan van Riebeeck during the Dutch colonisation of the Cape. It's presented by the Artscape, in association with the Dutch theatre collective, the Volksoperahuis.


In Krotoa, Eva van de Kaap, audiences are introduced to the story of Krotoa through the perspectives and opinions of two performers —one South African and one Dutch— as they discover and relive the story of Krotoa on a fictional movie set. The movie focuses on her relationships and interactions with Jan van Riebeeck and his family, her marriage to Pieter van Meerhof, her bond with her family and link to her community, In the exploration of these relationships, the play reveals the Dutch disrespect of Krotoa's culture and the emotional manipulation used to get her to distance herself from her people and traditions.

Bianca Flanders captivates with her portrayal of the actress playing Krotoa. Flanders movingly reveals Krotoa as an (ab)used, vulnerable, confused and misplaced individual. The balance between controlled influence and sensitivity Flanders brings to the role showcases her versatility and is reason enough to go see this production.


Opposite Flanders, Kees Scholten, takes on the role of the Dutch actor playing Van Riebeeck and Van Meerhof. His performance shows a character that struggles with his misinterpretation of Krotoa and her place in South African history. As the film actor who tries to understand the character of Krotoa from his Dutch and personal perspective, Scholten’s character provides a stark contrast to that of the film actress played by Flanders —she has moved beyond needing to understand and rather wants to channel Krotoa's truth to allow her to 'tell' her own story.


As a play with music, Krotoa, Eva van de Kaap merges the historic narrative with a modern day acknowledgement of the tribute that is owed to Krotoa. It highlights not so much the agreed upon aspects of her life’s tale, but rather shows the contested perspectives to reveal the human-interest story often so easily ignored. In so doing, the play keeps Krotoa’s story open ended by linking the mistreatment (physical and emotional) she endured to the impact her experiences still has on communities in the Western Cape today. This narrative is then emotively further endorsed by music composed by Frazer Barry (South Africa) and Jef Hofmeister (Netherlands).


Krotoa, Eva van de Kaap is on at the Artscape Arena until 16 February 2019. Tickets are available online through Computicket.

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