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Friday, September 26, 2008


Compelling superbly written two-handed drama in English and Afrikaans directed and performed by award winning actresses. (Review by Maurice Kort)

Several award winners have collaborated to present an evening of superb theatre under the auspices of Diplomatic Corpse Productions where Kobus Moolman's Stone Angel is brought to the stage by Janna Ramos-Violante and Josette Eales under the direction of Clair Mortimer - all multiple award winners.

Stone Angel was the joint winner of last year’s National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund / Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) Festival of Contemporary New Writing and this was the second time Kobus Moolman won a prestigious award for new South African dramatic wring as he received the Jury Prize for Best Script in 2004 for his play Full Circle.

The stars of this lyrical and moody two-hander are two award winning very versatile actresses. Janna Ramos-Violante was a standout as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls last year and has appeared in Boston Marriage, Oleanna and 'night Mother while Josette Eales will be remembered for her performances in The Lover. Putting it all together, is the award-winning Durban director and performer, Clare Mortimer

The play is part historical drama and part ghost story and weaves stories of past and present together by referring to historical moments from South Africa's history such as the Great Trek and the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 to 1902 and using them to create issues of nationalism and cultural identity.

Janna Ramos Violante is Poppie, a simple minded, dysfunctional, present-day woman eking out a living as a car-guard at a Boer war cemetery on a northern KwaZulu-Natal battlefield and she is seen energetically performing her occupation, when she is not nursing her foot which has a suppurating septic abscess (excellent make-up) and conversing with her boy-friend, whom she also voices.

Josette Eales, splendid in black, is a young Boer woman, Dollie, considered by her family to be a freak as she was allergic to the sun and rarely went outside in daylight. She died during the second Anglo-Boer war and a stone angel guards her grave. The Boer woman 're-appears' from the dead to tell Poppie the tragic but fascinating story of her death. Special mention must be made of the vocal soundtrack by Iain "Ewok" Robinson as the letter from the British soldier and vehicle noises. They are so good one can imagine him in the wings. The play is in English and Afrikaans. Although Josette Eales is not Afrikaans-speaking, under the superb tuition of actor Thomie Holtzhausen, her Afrikaans accent as Dollie is excellent and very accurate.

A commonality between these two strong minded women is their clear and all-seeing eyes which witness the death, decay, manipulation and exploitation all around them.

Stone Angel is compelling drama, spanning over a century and can be seen at the Square Space Theatre, KwaZulu-Natal University Durban Campus, where there is secure parking from September 23 to October 5 2008, Tuesdays to Sundays at 20h00. Tickets are available online at or by calling 073 725 7381. – Maurice Kort