A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

festivals
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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

GLASS ROOTS (article first published : 2000-09-21)

If the characters in Glass Roots fail to remind you of people you know - and know very well - you must be a visitor, probably from another planet, certainly from outside South Africa. This clever, sharp comedy does that most liberating of things; it lets us laugh at ourselves.

The plot is simple: Jocelyn, a struggling young advertising executive with an unfortunate habit, and Vuyo, her business partner and significant other, are battling to find the "quintessential South African" for a beer commercial. They discover Verity, a practical no-nonsense Coloured housewife from the Cape Flats, and things seem to be going well until Mona, Jocelyn's mother, arrives. She is the motor-mouthed mother from hell who erupts into Jocelyn's minimalist loft apartment in not-quite-openly-critical mode and progresses from there.

Fiona Coyne's excellent script plays with situations and prejudices, some of which are peculiarly South African and some of which are universal. It gives Diane Wilson the chance to have a ball as Mona in a brilliantly judged performance - ghastly, funny and moving by turns - and completed by her red wig, frightful up-from-the-country clothes and partiality for the Mainstay bottle. Wilson is ably backed by Gail Reagon as Verity, down to earth and witty, and the two of them dominate proceedings.

It is hard for the younger actors as the script has given the best lines to Wilson and Reagon and it is from them that most of the comedy comes. But Jenny Stead and Wiseman Sithole do well with what they are given, though my main criticism of the script is that Jocelyn is made to be unnecessarily unpleasant.

There are a couple of moments in the second half when the comedy wobbles perilously close to the line dividing sharp humour from pathos, but Roy Sargeant's slick direction keeps Glass Roots on the rails, although the first half is definitely more assured. But as Vuyo says during the play, “guilt is a white thing”, and Glass Roots lets us all, of whatever colour, laugh at our various guilts, foibles and fears. It makes them more manageable, even if only for a while. - Margaret von Klemperer




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart