Young thespians shine locally, nationally

The cast of Medium Rare.

On Friday night, The Playhouse Theatre in Somerset West was a hive of activity, as the audience – comprising pupils, parents and members of the public – arrived to watch a compilation of three plays, performed back-to-back by Parel Vallei High School’s talented drama students.

The performances were a tribute to the hard work and recent success of all the plays, and Bolander was there for the event, as patron of The Playhouse, and it was a tour de force.

(V)lug is a surreal and haunting story of a young boy who inhabits a dream-like state, as a matter of self-preservation from personal trauma, accompanied by the effervescent goose and lanky straw-man, in the guise of masterfully-designed puppets, manouvered with incredible skill and fluidity.

This was followed by Medium Rare, which launches in with a shared “monologue” by two of a group of similarly-clad actors, presented at a breathtaking, flawless pace, and then followed by a disparate set of “scenes” that seemed as spontaneous as they were provocative.

After a break for wine and delicious canapes, the audience re-entered the theatre for the last performance, Bruwelik, which held no punches, with its stark interactions and brittle relationships, culminating in a final scene that left me feeling (an intended) disquiet at the volatile nature of dysfunctional relationships.

Bruwelik and (V)lug were two of 46 productions at the Durbanville festival of ATKV Teenage Theatre Production competition.

Both pieces got through to the final round, at the end of August, and (V)lug was the big winner, with Bloemhof Girls’ High coming second with Uhm … and Stellenbosch High taking third place with Donkievel.

PV’s English play, Medium Rare, took top honours at the recent Montagu theatre festival, where the judges were impressed by the cutting edge humour and ability to tackle everyday issues facing humankind.

To all the young thespians in the Boland and Helderberg, well done. And to the public… check out local gig guides and theatre productions, you’ll be transported.

The national final for the ATKV-Tienertoneel kompetisie takes place at the Adam Small Theatre in Stellenbosch, with (V)lug on Tuesday September 24, and Bruwelik on Thursday September 26, both at 6pm. Tickets are available at Quicket.