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This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Vermaak | Entertainment > Teater | Theatre > Artikels | Features

Diary of a drama: Wolke (Translated) - Part 3

Jessica Haines - 2007-09-25

Wolke (Translated)
Director: Henriëtta Gryffenberg
With Marcel van Heerden & Jessica Haines
25–29 September 2007
Aardklop, Potchefstroom


By the actress: Jessica Haines

You are probably wondering why an English-speaking girl has been given a part in one of Harry Kalmer’s theatrical gems, Wolke, a rare piece of work that illustrates the delicacies of a father (Kobus) and his estranged daughter's (Camilla) relationship. The beauty of it all is that language is one of the tools that serve to alienate the two of them as they try to merge their two separate worlds. However, it is their love for music that continually encourages them to gravitate towards each other.

After our first read-through I was completely overwhelmed; it suddenly dawned on me that:

1. Everyone was speaking in Afrikaans.
2. 60% of the play was written in Afrikaans.
3. I wished with all my heart that I had an Afrikaans part.

For I think it is one of the most beautiful languages (when written well and spoken with complete clarity). So as Marcel glided through the rich tapestry of guttural vowels, adjectives and what seemed to me like literal music, I came in with a twangy, flat, nasal, poor Boston (American) accent which hurt my ears … not to mention those of the poor people listening. But time has passed and I don’t feel like an outsider anymore.

What I have found to be the most rewarding thing about this project, apart from working with the wonderful Henriëtta Gryffenberg, who is utterly inspirational, and the talented Marcel van Heerden, has been the research. My character, Camilla, suffers from addiction. Her struggles with crack cocaine and the strength with which she manages to untangle her emotional knots have been a fascinating journey for me. I had the pleasure of attending an NA (Narcotic Anonymous) meeting, which really helped me understand the reality of addiction and to grasp the truth of its hold on people. Playing a person who suffers from addiction, one has to be careful not to conform to the stereotype. I wanted to capture Camilla’s struggle as an honest sufferer, and combined with internet research I hope that is what I will achieve.

As an actor I find theatre to be the heart and soul of the performing arts. It is alive, it breathes and it is forever changing. Unlike film, which often seems disjointed and incoherent, theatre flows like a constant stream; it enables you to grow and explore, whereas film is a moment of truth and then it is cut and in the can – one is never allowed to go back and revisit what is gone. For this very reason I have loved working on this project, having just come off a film set totally drained (I was playing Lucy opposite John Malkovich’s David Lurie in the film version of JM Coetzee’s Disgrace, which will be released in 2008). It is good to feel the blood running through my veins once more.

So if you are reading this, I hope that it may instil a flicker of interest and that you might just consider coming to share the gentle, sometimes intense, journey of Kobus and his daughter Camilla.

Klik hier vir "Deel 1" deur die skrywer: Harry Kalmer

Klik hier vir "Deel 2" deur die regisseur: Henriëtta Gryffenberg

Klik hier vir "Deel 4" deur die akteur: Marcel van Heerden