“It does strange things to your mind, the Marico moon, and in your heart are wild and fragrant fancies…” Herman Charles Bosman
Brace yourself for hilarious
storytelling and witty entertainment at the hands of the spirited, sassy, veldskoen-clad
Bosman teller of tales: Barbie Meyer.
Compiled & performed by Barbie Meyer
Directed by Marke Meyer
“His work gets under your skin – I’ve been hooked since I was a little girl. And after every show I do I’m always left wanting to explore just a little more, wanting to re-read and share just one more story or poem which yells to be performed out loud…and it’s better to be addicted to Bosman than to say, blue-top or sniffing glue say I!
I work on other theatrical pieces and
concepts but always seem to come home to Bosman’s work.
I love the moon in all its guises and this has always been a strong thread in Bosman’s work – so it seemed a natural angle for me take in this new Show – I can’t wait to share it with you.” Barbie Meyer.
Herman Charles Bosman (1905-1951) was a South African writer and journalist who became famous for capturing the rhythms of backveld Afrikaans speech even though he wrote in English. He is widely regarded as the greatest short story writer to come out of this country. His books are some of the finest in the field of South-African literature.
Whether you have read Bosman’s works or not, Meyer’s compilation of his stories in “Marico Moon” will no doubt delight and surprise you. It is challenging, delightfully written and eminently entertaining.
Meyer has succeeded in mastering the distinctive flat accent of the Groot Marico. Her use of pauses and impeccable comedic timing are what sets her apart as a top storyteller. Her unpretentious style and her tangible passion for the stories and love for this sort of storytelling simply oozes out of her every pore when she is on the stage, pulling the audience right into the veld with her.
Meyer has been recognised as something of a Bosman fundi and has performed her plays at many venues, festivals and intimate settings around the country.
Expect comical and witty storytelling through the mouth of a rather quirky blonde ‘Oom Schalk’ as well as through the eyes of Herman Charles Bosman himself. A little romantic, a little wistful, affected with the madness of the Marico moon but of course always touched with Bosman’s unmistakable irony, humor and wit.
Please could you give us a little more information about
what people can expect from the production of “Marico Moon”?
Quite simply don’t come expecting anything except to listen to fabulously written, witty stories by master short story writer, Herman Charles Bosman.
His stories are funny, profoundly human and filled with irony – so perhaps expect to giggle too. There are some well known short stories in this compilation, including The Veld Maiden and The Love Potion as well as a taste of his delicious poetry. His more well-known short stories are usually written and put into the mouth of narrator Oom Schalk Lourens. Oom Schalk is a wonderfully wise and simple Afrikaans Boer. One sees the bushveld and the colourful characters of the Marico through his eyes – with sometimes sad, sometimes uplifting, always perceptive and mostly hysterical results. These are stories you want to listen to over and over again and I always think are just as relevant now as they were 50 years ago.
This is now the sixth play that you have compiled on
Herman Charles Bosman and his short stories – why him?
I simply love his wit and his style of writing. There is nothing more wonderful and more captivating than a good story well told. I also love that he knows exactly “which part of the story to leave out!”
Storytelling is literally as old as mankind – a wonderful tradition that allows you to create your own pictures in your mind. Once you start on his stories, you tend to get hooked.
You’re an English girl playing an Afrikaans man– does it
work?! I would like to believe so.
I think the fact that I specifically don’t try to hide the fact that I am a
woman is a fresh and contemporary take on his work. My gestures, accents and
conversation I hope are believable and man-like – thanks to my tenacious and
rather fierce director.
The whole ‘girl thing’ was certainly a conversation point at many of my Grahamstown Festival performances. In one delightful crit the caption was: “…the protected male turf of Herman Charles Bosman was plundered by a woman… she did the job admirably. This play shows that women can do anything men can do. Even play Oom Schalk Lourens.”
Another headline in the Festival newspaper was: “How does a blonde play Oom Schalk Lourens? …rather well.”So yes, there is always some hesitation before I undertake the challenge of being a man – but I was brought up on his stories – my Mom was a great Oom Schalk and I have a passion for his work and I have a ridiculous amount of fun doing them. Incidentally, I get to play some pretty alluring, gorgeous veld maidens too – which is a welcome reprieve.
Is it difficult to play a man? Absolutely. I remember
vividly what my wonderful and rather stern director, Bets Basson, said to me in
my very first rehearsals over nine years ago. After I had given, what I
thought, was a wonderful rendition of Oom Schalk drinking mampoer at a party.
She said to me “Barb, what are you trying
to do? Are you trying to be a fairy – or a boer man, ‘cos to me it looks like
the first?” I was mortified. Needless to say, she managed to, single
handedly, ‘ruk me reg’ so to speak. And for some bazaar reason it’s rather liberating
to know how it feels to sit, speak, spit, to sit and speak like a Boer.
How would you like people to respond to your Show?
Quite simply I would hope with just a wonderful memory of a gorgeous evening out of pure entertainment and storytelling. Secondly, a giggle at how human we all are and perhaps the realizations that all people, no matter who we are, in which century we live, what we believe – are so very similar! And lastly, a little appreciation of Bosman’s incredible writing talent. (And if you’re inspired to read his stories or take one of Bosman’s books…well that would just be the best compliment ever!).
What inspires you?
I am inspired by hundreds of things daily: the bank of blue Agapanthus in full bloom at our dam; my extraordinary Polish father; the vitality and enthusiasm in my nephews, nieces and gorgeous God-children; well written tunes and intelligent lyrics, the perceptiveness of my Mother, the flowering brilliance of the Flamboyant trees in our road, a good art movie, kindness, a humorous read, dance, risk takers …I think that about covers it!