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ADVENTURES ON A NARROW BOAT (article first published : 2002-03-25)

Kwasuka Theatre’s artistic director Pieter Scholtz spends half of his year in England on his narrow boat which he bought two years ago, named Tokoloshe.

Narrow boats look like barges - Tokoloshe is 45ft and driven by a diesel engine. She is a four berth vessel with a double cabin and two singles and is fully equipped with kitchen, bathroom, TV and music centre.

The narrow boat way of life is slow and leisurely, allowing one to enjoy the scenery and, in Pieter’s case, gives him time to write and “lower the ratio of living”.

“There’s much exercise to be had because when you’re travelling by yourself you have to cope with the locks that form part of canal travel in many parts of Europe,” he says..”A lock is an ingenious age-old device for transporting a boat from one water level to another, often encompassing a height of three metres.”

Tokoloshe and Pieter have travelled from the South of England through Wales and further afield. Pieter moored right outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to see two weeks of plays there and then moved into the heart of London to moor at Little Venice for another two weeks of theatre.

During his periods aboard Tokoloshe, Pieter has written shows such as Piaf, Do Not Go Gentle, Tales of the Rising Sun, Bawdy Tales and, his latest, the Adventures on a Narrow Boat.

Inspired by his adventures on Tokoloshe, Adventures of a Narrow Boat will run at Kwasuka Theatre from March 28 to April 6 at 14h30. The characters include Sir, a teacher with an acerbic wit but a warm heart Sir (Pieter Scholtz who also plays the truculent thug Yobo); an unconventional boy called Peter (Adhir Kalyan); a young girl called Jem who is studious, short sighted and very bright (Stacey Taylor), and tomboy Sam (Shannon Kenny) who is intelligent and defensive. Shannon also plays Tricksy the river sprite.

The play first of all introduces the young audience to the concept of a “narrow boat”. Three bright pupils (learners) in class are set an essay project: “Travel in the 21st century”. They decide to explore travel on a “narrow boat”, probably the slowest mode of transport with a top speed of 4 miles per hour! The first half of the play depicts a humorous introduction to narrow boat travel and how to become a seasoned mariner!

The second half of the play introduces the young audiences to “Tricksy” a canal sprite – distantly related to Tokoloshe the river sprite – with all the predictable mischief and fun that she brings to the situations.

Pieter Scholtz promises great fun for young audiences of six years and upwards as well as the young at heart!

Book at Computicket or at the theatre on 031 309-2236.




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