The Market Theatre is presenting an award winning Afrikaans language play, translated from the German by Willem Anker. Manfred Karge’s Jacke Wir Hose is a 1982 play looking at the life of a woman who managed to live, undetected, as a man through the depression years in the Weimar Republic and then later during the Nazi regime leading up to and into World War II.
The feted work is titled As die broek pas and it is being presented in the Barney Simon Theatre upstairs at the Market. It is directed by Marthinus Basson and produced by Hugo Theart. It stars Antoinette Kellerman. Design is by Marthinus Basson and Wolf Britz assists with the very clever lighting which makes use, inter alia, of lights controlled from the stage itself.
Antoinette Kellerman, one of South Africa’s senior actresses, has an interest in “trouser roles” or “breeches roles” (roles where a woman plays a man) and she presented this play work as part of her Master’s degree work. She is exceptionally convincing as a man in this role, and one doesn’t feel surprised that “she” (the character, Max Gericke/Ella Gericke) managed to fool people for decades while living as a man.
The character, Ella Gericke, becomes trapped in the role she play and she pays a heavy price emotionally and physically as she drinks and smokes her way through a man’s world.
Antoinette Kellerman does an excellent job of being a man. Every movement is male. As she strips down she exposes the layers of her deception, and with every layer the audience is more amazed at the usurpation of the male by the female.
This is a satisfying work to watch and it is accessible to people who have a reasonable comprehension of Afrikaans as a second language. I was a little amused, however, to see that the programme, like this review, is in English. What would the purists of bygone eras have made of this? I encourage theatre lovers, especially those who like something meaty to consider, to attend this work.
The Newtown Junction has a News Cafe where people can get something to eat before the show and there is now plenty of safe underground parking below the old parking area.