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

BACK TO BACK BOSMAN (article first published : 1999-09-16)

The Hilton Arts Festival taking place over this weekend (September 17 to 19) at Hilton College outside Pietermaritzburg will host two separate productions focusing on the life and times of story teller, Herman Charles Bosman.

The works of Bosman were until recently essentially a scholars' companion and not considered much in vogue with the general reading public. Now he is being exposed, revisited, re-examined and celebrated: warts, substance-abuse and all. He has been taken out of the libraries, dusted down and re-packed in a newly-found apparent fascination with his life and work. In the process he has joined the ranks of other contemporary literary greats including Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S Thompson in being acclaimed as a fascinating and masterful person as well as important and valuable writer.

There are two pieces looking at Bosman at the festival this year. One is the acclaimed David Butler piece portraying the story-teller as the romantic poet, condemned prisoner and vibrant mad genius of red wine and dagga. Entitled A Touch of Madness and directed by Nicky Rebelo it was sold out at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown this year.

The second, Cold Stone Jug, is directed by Hilton-based Anthony Lovell and is a moving account of Bosman's harrowing experiences in Swartvlei Central Prison while serving time for murder. According the programme notes, "moments of utter sadness and desperation combine with humorous anecdotes as Bosman reveals a remarkable four years sharing a miserable existence with strange and eccentric fellow prisoners and warders."

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