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SWANSONG FOR CHARLIE (article first published : 2004-12-26)

Originally written as a highly successful stage play called, Over the Hill by award winning playwright Paul Slabolepszy, old favourites find new life on the screen in this made-for-TV movie, called Swansong For Charlie.

The cast includes Jamie Bartlett, Paul Slabolepszy, Nicole Abel, Jody Abrahams, Sandy Vaughn, Deon Coetzee, Vusi Msane,David Clatworthy, James Winkler, Dot Feldman and Jane Benney.

Swansong for Charlie concerns Charlie Theron, a rugby player in his mid-thirties who is playing his last game of rugby for the Blesbokke. His roommate is a 22-year-old ”coloured” fly half, Junaid Shagriem, who has just had a disastrous first game for his province. The backdrop is the stadium of the provincial town and the players and townsfolk try desperately to make sense of their lives. It becomes a microcosm of the rugby world in South Africa.

Director Bobby Heaney sees the film, as a “unique opportunity to make a different type of movie - a chance to tell a uniquely South African story in a uniquely South African way. The Australians have been doing it for years with considerable success, so why not us?"

Swansong for Charlie does not have a traditional climax; rather the night winds down like it does every weekend all over the country after a game of rugby. People go back to their unexciting, sometimes sad lives. But then life is not a Hollywood movie. And hopefully the viewer will have had the privilege at the end of the movie to have shared in the lives of ordinary, real people and shared in their laughter, fears, embarrassments, pain - and have recognised something of themselves in the characters.




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