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GREEN MAN FLASHING (article first published : 2004-06-18)

Mike van Graan’s award-winning play, Green man flashing, makes its professional debut on the Fringe at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown which runs from July 2 to 9. The show will be performed at the Gymnasium.

“Brave” … “Courageous” … “It should be seen by all South Africans” … were some of the comments from judges and members of the audience after the staged reading of Green Man Flashing at the PANSA/UCT Drama Department Festival of Reading of New Writing, where it scooped the Jury Award last November.

In this fast-moving political thriller, universal themes such as individual human rights versus the great political good, personal relationships versus political loyalties and moral responsibility for individual choices, are played out against the backdrop of the second South African democratic elections.

Green man flashing started as a radio play The Reunion, produced by Nigel Vermaas and which was the last radio play broadcast on SAfm. It was adapted into a stage play and presented as part of the Baxter's Playground series of readings in 2002 as Slippery Slope. Based on that experience and in rigorous dialogue with Clare Stopford - and with the help of a grant from the National Arts Council, Slippery Slope was altered significantly and was renamed under the more ironic title Green man flashing.

This time round, prolific, award-winning Clare Stopford, directs a high-profile cast: Jennifer Steyn plays Gabby Anderson, former “student lefty” and exile. Vusi Kunene fills the role of Aaron Matshoba, Gabby’s ex-husband and one of the major political part’s leading negotiators.

Charlotte Butler is cast as Anna Richards, Gabby’s friend and lawyer; Sechaba Morojele is Luthando Nyaka, the quintessential party hack; and Andre Samuels plays Inspector Theo Abrahams, former security policeman during apartheid and now part of the Violent Crimes Unit.

A graduate of UCT, Mike van Graan has served in leadership positions in various cultural NGOs including Director of the Community Arts Project, General Secretary of the National Arts Coalition and Director of the BAT Centre. He currently serves as the General Secretary of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) and provides a variety of services through his consultancy, Article 27.

Previous plays include The dogs must be crazy and Some of my best friends are cultural workers, both of which were selected "Hot off the Fringe" at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival where they premiered, and Dinner Talk which picked up the Fleur du Cap for best indigenous script in 1998.

Green man flashing is on at the Gymnasium on July 2 (10h00); July 3 (19h30); July 4 (17h00); July 5 (19h00); July 6 (14h00); July 7 (12h30); July 8 (21h30) and July 9 (17h30).

“Green man flashing” has received sponsorship from the National Arts Council.




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