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GAYNOR RISING (article first published : 2004-03-22)

Some 15 years ago, a talented actress destined for stardom, fell seven stories from the State Theate stage during a performance of Camelot. Very few people involved or interested in the arts in South Africa could ever forget Gaynor Young’s horrendous accident which she miraculously survived.

It was a slow and painful road to recovery but Gaynor is made of true grit and vowed that she would get on the stage again. She did. Five years later, she wrote and appeared in My Plunge to Fame, a production directed by Maralin Vanrenen.

Recently, Maralin put the challenge to Gaynor that it will be ten years in April since she put on My Plunge to Fame at The Civic and it was time to do the next one. Gaynor went up to Johannesburg to pursue the idea further and the result is Gaynor Rising - a celebration of life which will have a performance at the Theatre in the Square in Sandton on May 2.

A graduate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (formerly University of Natal), Gaynor is understandably excited about the prospect of getting back on stage again: “I begin my intro to the whole evening by saying: ‘It was the 12th April 1994 that I took my first tentative and trembling steps back onstage after the horrific accident which had kept me off stage for five years. How do I explain to you what I felt that night?'"

The show will include extracts from her correspondence file from people who have made an impact on her over the past five years: Albie Sachs, an 11-year old school girl, a woman on the brink of suicide in Cape Town, Janet Suzman and Celine Dion, to name a few.

She will mention her trips overseas, including an appearance at Deaf 2 held at Gallaudet University, Washington as well as the process of writing and publishing her book. Delightful memories will include the discovery of her old diary, not to mention her beloved cockatiel Pandora.

If the show goes successfully, there is a possiblity that Gaynor will appear on the following Sunday at Theatre in the Square. Then the wheels will be set in motion to take the show further, perhaps to Durban and Cape Town.




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