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HOMETALK (article first published : 1999-10-4)

Hometalk is a new and original play written and directed by Veronica Baxter. It premieres at the Hexagon Theatre on the University of Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus on October 11 and explores the theme of emigration from South Africa.

Veronica Baxter returned to the University of Natal in 1998 to take up a senior lecturer post, after an absence of seven years in Botswana, Zululand and the Eastern Cape. Before her departure from Pietermaritzburg, she directed the controversial production, Neighbours as well as the absurdist Here comes a Chopper at the time of the Edendale 10 day war and the experimental Brecht piece, Change the World!.

Hometalk, the first play Veronica Baxter has both written and directed, characteristically tackles a controversial theme. "The rainbow nation may be an optical illusion - the white youth of South Africa are getting out on ancestry visas or whatever, making their lives elsewhere,” she explains. “I started writing the play thinking they were wrong, but more and more I realised that most young, white people are disinherited. They have no memory of the struggle to identify with, and their culture is invisible because to claim it is seen as Eurocentric. They do not aspire to the 'simunye groove', and so there seems nothing to stay for."

Hometalk, which runs from October 11 to 15 at 19h30, shows a tense reunion between six South Africans in a London flat where their feelings about home impact upon their relationships with each other. Senior actors from the UND Pietermaritzburg Drama Studies follow on their successes with West Side Story and The Sound of Muesli, notably Gavin Hadden, Emma Allen, Dean Roberts, Olivia Borgen, Caitlin Hatton and Cathy Stacey.

Tickets at R15 (R10 students and pensioners) can be booked through the Hexagon Theatre on (0331) 260-5537, or bought at the door.


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