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FESTIVAL DIARY – July 5 (article first published : 2003-07-8)

Last day of the Festival and, looking back, it’s been a good one for me. It was a bit hectic as I was wearing three hats.

I was a member of the media representing artSMart as well as D’ARTS magazine and each day there was a rush to write up the day’s report and load it.

I was also there as a director ensuring that the production was running smoothly. Although Vergissmeinnicht didn’t play to large audiences, it did receive valuable feedback, good crits, very favourable response (the Festival Radio rated it 8/10) and excellent contacts were made. Watch out for Vergissmeinnicht in 2004 although it may have a different title as nobody, save the Netherlands Embassy’s cultural officer, seemed able to pronounce it properly in its German context!

The third hat was that of editor of a book written by my husband’s uncle, Geoff Palmer. Geoff’s greatgrandfather, George Palmer, came to South Africa at the age of eight with the 1820 Settlers. In 1848, he bought the farm that is now known as Strowan, one of the largest farms in the Grahamstown district.

At the ripe old age of 89, Geoff’s memory is sound and wide-reaching and his book is filled with fascinating information and delightful anecdotes. The book will be published in a couple of months’ time and will serve as a fundraiser for the Bathurst Agricultural Museum which Geoff played a major role in creating.

In wrapping up all these activities, there was still time to see Swan Lake presented by the Cape Town City Ballet in association with Artscape and featuring the KZN Philharmonic conducted by Naum Rousine.

Although I would have liked to have seen Tracy Li in the Odette/Odile role as I remember her well from her time with the Playhouse Dance Company, Marianne Bauer was just as exquisite. Her pas de deux with Johnny Bovang (Prince Siegfried) in Act II was mesmerisingly beautiful.

Another former Playhouse Dance Company member appearing was Manie Irving, extracting the most possible fun out of the role of the Jester.

Peter Cazalet’s designs were impressive and his costumes were superb, particularly those in the Castle scenes. Despite the cold weather that affects string players’ fingers and the lips of the wind players, the orchestra played well - despite being plunged into the clouds of billowing smoke that rolled offstage in the Lake scenes!

A fitting final performance to an interesting and exciting festival. I now eagerly await the figures from the media office to find out the financial outcome of the main and fringe programmes.




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