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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MARGA’S ELLA LOER SHOW (article first published : 2002-07-4)

Directed by Trudie Taljaard and starring Marga van Rooy, still being remembered for her hilarious portrayal of the seamstress in the 60’s Afrikaans movie Pappalap, Marga’s Ella Loer Show is a must for Afrikaans sitcom lovers.

Based on her character Ella Visagie inVetkoek, Van Rooy extends the character to the rest of her family including her sister Girty. Arriving in a typical Tannie Evita election show outfit, Girty offers the audience the first of her Loer en Leer Volksvrou Oprah Rainbow Shows Live. Purposefully sent-up, the direct translations in the comic script work well.

Often referred to in the television series, Ella’s pain with the birth of Worsie “Vetkoek” Visagie is driven to its utmost as she explains every smallest detail. At the performance I saw, the audience exploded with laughter. Her pain and suffering as the mother-in-law is further exploited as she compares her honeymoon with that of her son.

Another member of the Visagie-familie, Vlooi is the Census 2001 official. This gives Van Rooy the chance to go beyond the stereotyped “battered and suppressed” Afrikaans wife. A strong character well performed.

The show ends with a serious sketch a la the book review that is normally featured at the end of Oprah’s programmes. And, as such, it is indeed a very honest piece despite the humour that has gone before.

The remains of the well-known figure (no pun intended) Saartjie Baartman, who was “exported” and show-cased in Europe for her extraordinary and almost grotesque body returns to SA. The Museum of Man in France has finally agreed to release it.

In spite of the fact that Van Rooyen tells the story with compassion and recites a poem on Baartman with great sensitivity as well as a beautiful Griqua-poem, I cannot help but question the motivation of the inclusion of this serious and sensitive issue into a production of this nature. – Thomie Holtzhausen




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