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GAYNOR RISING (article first published : 2004-08-13)

Former Durban actress and graduate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (formerly University of Natal), Gaynor Young is to present her new show Gaynor Rising at Kwasuka Theatre in a weeks’ time. The production is directed by Gauteng-based Maralin van Reenen and performances were held at the Theatre in the Square in Sandton in May.

It is ten years since Gaynor Young put on My Plunge to Fame at The Civic, some 15 years after she fell 18 metres down an unguarded lift shaft from the State Theate stage during a performance of “Camelot”.

Miraculously, she survived this horrendous accident but the fall took its toll. A highly accomplished actress on her way to stardom, her career was brutally cut short. Gaynor is now profoundly deaf, one arm is unresponsive and her speech has been badly affected.

Those who have never met Gaynor can only guess at this spirited young woman’s mettle. Once she had recuperated and was able to move around and communicate again, defying doctors’ predictions that she would never walk or talk again, she vowed that she would get on the stage again. Five years later, she wrote and appeared in My Plunge to Fame which was also directed by Maralin Vanrenen.

In the aptly-named Gaynor Rising Gaynor will include extracts from her correspondence file from people who have made an impact on her over the past five years such as Albie Sachs, an 11-year old school girl, a woman on the brink of suicide in Cape Town, Janet Suzman and Celine Dion.

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.

On her opening night of Gaynor Rising, Gaynor succumbed to an intense attack of nerves, wondering if she had bitten off more than she could chew. Her fears proved groundless.

“The stage went dark,” remembers Gaynor. “I quickly moved onto it and took up my position and the lights came back on. With the lights came this enormous applause that never seemed to diminish.”

The show was a triumph and many Johannesburg theatre personalities including Joan Brickhill were in the audience. “I felt like I was Queen for that evening,” says Gaynor. “So many special people were there.

Gaynor Rising will be performed at Kwasuka Theatre from August 18 to September 5 with performances Wednesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 and Sundays at 14h30. There will be two extra performances: August 31 at 20h00 and September 5 at 20h00.

To book contact Greg King on 083 544 2006.




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