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VERGISSMEINNICHT (article first published : 2003-06-30)

Well-known Durban-based artist and playwright Andrew Verster attended a performance of Clinton Marius's Vergissmeinnicht at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The production stars Clinton himself with Thomie Holtzhausen and is directed by Caroline Smart

"The acting is brilliant and the idea is clever. It feels as if it is based on something experienced. You believe in the two characters and their situation and one revels in the dynamics between them. All this rings true.

Families are usually less perfect in private than outsiders are allowed to see. And because of this we relate easily to these people. We have all had similar experiences - our own skeletons in our own cupboards.

The first half is fine but it began to fall apart in the second half. My problem is with the structure and the writing. The plot is too neat and so we, as audience, are robbed of surprise. I simply could not believe in the coincidence. The coincidences.

Yes, it could happen. Perhaps it did but in a drama we have to be convinced that it did. It was all too sudden - we were given no clues to prepare us and so we were not participants in the unfolding drama. We would have liked to have followed the clues and come to our own conclusions even if they had been wrong.

Perhaps we needed an extra ten minutes?

The play has such potential that it is worth looking at and reworking. - Andrew Verster




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