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

JAKOB (article first published : 2008-01-13)

Jakob is based on a short story by lighting designer Michael Broderick which was adapted for the stage by Clare Mortimer, an award winning actress.

It was directed by Michael Broderick and stars Bryan Hiles, well-known to Durban audiences, particularly in the light-hearted fun annual traditional pantomimes. It is a treat to see his acting ability in this more serious role about a young boy in the Netherlands and his fixation with light. He spends his days carrying buckets of water from the lake, "actually a pond with aspirations", to the shed.

Several other villagers are superbly portrayed by Bryan Hiles, particularly the elderly Abraham and Hentjie. However it is Frederich and Margo, a luckless couple who have lost three babies, with Margo no longer being able to bear children, who take in and look after Jakob. The drought and lack of water figure strongly, as do light and ultimately love, in this well-written parable.

Bryan Hiles is to be complimented on his excellent and energetic performance. He needs to project his voice more in the opening scene at the Catalina Theatre. This is performed in near darkness and the noise of the extractor fan from the downstairs restaurant doesn't help. The set is the most elaborative of the plays, Iíve seen at the festival and every aspect is used to excellent effect with striking use of lighting - no surprise with Michael Broderick being responsible for the lighting design and the direction of the play.

There is one more performance of Jakob, at the Catalina Theatre on January 13 at 18h00., the last play of the festival, before the winding up Cabaret party at Zak's, Wilson's Wharf, at 19h30. - Maurice Kort




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