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22 May 2015

Fiela’s Child

One of South Africa’s most beloved tales will be playing out on the Savoy Theatre stage from 8 to 19 November.

The Port Elizabeth Gilbert and Sullivan Society are deep into rehearsals for Ian von Memerty’s FIELA’s CHILD. The original novel, Fiela Se Kind was written by Daleen Mathee and the movie made Shaleen Surtee-Richards a star. Daleen Mathee then translated the novel into English (available on Kalahari) and Ian von Memerty realised that this most beautiful of South African stories would make a most uplifting and beautiful Musical Theatre piece. And he turned it into exactly that.

Years ago, Director, Robin Williams saw it in Cape Town and fell in love with the music. Now she feels “privileged to be given freedom to draw on all my creative juices to place this beautiful piece of musical theatre back onto the boards!”

Starring Centrestage’s diva, Donna Africa as Fiela, Directed by prolific and award-winning director, Robin Williams, Musical Direction is by multi-talented Neil Leachman.

Kelly-Leigh Mucka (My Fair Lady, The Producers) has been cast as Barta and Neil Leachman, stepping away from his MD duties will play her husband, abusive “luigat” Elias. Supporting Donna (Fiela) will be Herbie Clayton making a welcome return to the boards as Selling, Fiela’s husband.

Benjamin/Lucas will be played by two actors. As a child he will be played by talented Grey Junior schoolboy, James vd Merwe and as a young man by Werner Viljoen who will be making his debut in a leading role for G and S.

Similarly the role of Nina (the daughter of Barta and Elias) is played by two actresses. As a little girl, she will be played by Kasvia von Memerty, who has enchanted PE audiences in Annie and her Von Memerty Family shows and as a young woman she will be played by second-year Stageworld student, Megan van Wyk.

Well known Port Elizabeth Musical Theatre folk have been hand-picked for the supporting roles. Bennie Gerber (Cabaret, Annie) will play the Census Man, Rose Cowpar (Footloose, Oliver!) is Miss Weatherbury, Mark Farrow (Oklahoma!, Oliver!), the Magistrate and Ann Yates (Fiddler on the Roof) is playing Malie.

Playing Koos is G and S committee member, Craig de Vos and newcomer Hennie van der Berg is Fiela’s white neighbour, Petrus Zondagh. 10 year old Daniel Goldberg (who recently garnered excellent reviews in Pinocchio) is Willem van Rooyen. Playing Fiela’s other children are Reginald Hufkie as Dawid, Kgalaletsu Abigail Molema (High School Musical, The Caucasian Chalk Circle) as Kitty, Stephen Coetzee as Tollie and cute newcomer, Shanelle Stone as Emma. Cast as a tiny Ensemble are Sarah Morton, Caitlin Smith and Cecile Jansen.

This heartwarming and uplifting production has 3 incredible artists creating Lighting and Set… Magnetic Storm’s David Limbert, and Port Elizabeth G S stalwarts Carole Stevens and Dawn Spence.

Contact Production Manager, Denise de Vos on 0828751458 if you or your organisation should care to purchase a fund-raising Gala for this truly South African musical.

Liking the Vleisboek page HERE will put you in line to win a set of double tickets to see the show. Confession – Does it count if I read the instruction wrong and Licked the page instead?

The storyline: A child wanders too far into the Knysna Forest and never returns. Nine years later, two government officials, working on a census, find a white child living with a Coloured family in the mountains on the other side of the forest. They take him away from the stricken Fiela, who has brought him up, and give him back to his ‘original’ family. Whipped into using a new name and calling strangers ‘ma’ and ‘pa’, Benjamin is so stunned that he cannot cry and waits for Fiela to reclaim him. But Fiela, powerless before authority, never comes. So Benjamin has to grow up before he can go in search of the truth.

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