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GROET DIE GROTMAN (article first published : 2006-08-22)

Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom will once again host one of the world's most successful comedy's - Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman - but this time it is the hugely popular Afrikaans version Groet die Grotman which promises the laughs at the iZulu Theatre from September 26.

The Afrikaans version of the production has had numerous runs around the country and has yet to be performed in KZN. Directed by the inimitable Sandra Prinsloo and translated and adapted by maverick Afrikaans musician Koos Kombuis the production stars celebrated actor Hannes Muller.

Defending the Caveman is a humoristic exploration of the differences between men and women and how those differences cause people to misunderstand each other completely. This one-man show has played in sold-out theatres across the world for the past 14 years and holds the record for the solo show that has played on Broadway the longest.

It is currently being performed in more than 20 countries, in 15 various languages, such as German, Czech and Icelandic. "It is wonderful that Defending the Caveman is now (being) performed in Afrikaans in South Africa," says playwright Rob Becker. "It always makes such a huge difference if one can experience theatre in one's own home language."

Defending the Caveman opened on Broadway in March 1995, and earned a place in the theatrical record books after its 399th performance, becoming the longest-running solo play in Broadway history. In honour of this the New York City Mayor at the time, Rudolph Giuliani, proclaimed July 18, 1996, "Caveman Day" in New York City and renamed the city's West 44th Street "Caveman Way".

How does Becker explain Defending The Caveman being such a giant success? "I think the show gives people a way to understand themselves and their spouses,” he says, “and while they are laughing at each other, there is healing, because they are laughing with a darkened theatre filled with couples … which makes them realise that they are not alone. And believe me, when those couples walk back to the car after the show, there is already some serious … you know what … going on. And isn't that in itself worth the price of a theatre ticket?"

Koos Kombuis says of the work he has put into the show "It was a delight, and also good therapy! I "Afrikaansified" and also South Africanised the show, but Rob's work has such a wonderful rhythm, and is so cleverly put together, that I tried to stick as closely to the text as possible."

Director Sandra Prinsloo says that for her the challenge lay in making Groet die Grotman a unique theatre experience. "We gave our own interpretation to the play, set it within the South African context, yet kept to the essence of Becker's original show. We had lots of fun, and we believe audiences will enjoy it just as much as we did."

And says Hannes Muller: "Ek is die grotman! Ek is die jagter! En alle mans is nie poepholle nie! Ons sien julle byGroet die Grotman" ("I am the caveman! I am the hunter! And all men are not assholes! See you at Groet die Grotman!")

Groet die Grotman runs at the iZulu Theatre from September 26 to October 8 with performances from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 (plus early show on Saturdays at 17h00. Tickets are R100 and R120. Book through Computicket.




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