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Thursday, September 27, 2012


Review of the production at the 2012 Witness Hilton Art Festival by Keith Millar.

The critically acclaimed play ….miskien is an intense, dark and sometimes amusing story about friendship. 

Cormack and Leighton are old friends who have known each other since their college days. They find themselves in tedious and uninspiring jobs and both are experiencing problems in their private lives. 

Cormack is in a dysfunctional relationship with his live-in girlfriend Annie. It seems as if they have lost the ability to effectively communicate and there is little warmth left between them. Leighton, on the other hand, has a lonely life living alone with his dreams and secrets. The only moment of sanity for the friends is their daily meeting for happy hour. There they bond over beers, sport and improbable stories of sexual conquests. 

Initially, the story is about the stereotypical perception of male friends and there is plenty to laugh about as they share drunken moments and have great fun watching rugby on TV. However, as they slowly reveal their vulnerabilities, the tension begins to build and the action moves to an electrifying and unexpected ending. 

…miskien first saw the light of day as a final year student production by director Tara Notcutt. It was then workshopped and developed by her and the two actors Albert Pretorius (Cormack) and Gideon Lombard (Leighton). All three are in fact credited as the writers of the piece. 

Their ownership of - and familiarity with - the work is very apparent as there is a powerful sense of reality in both the direction and the performances of the play. The effective use of silence in the final moments of the story is breathtaking and nerve-racking and brilliantly handled by the two actors. 

There is a minimal use of Afrikaans during the production (I suspect it varies depending on the audience) but this in no way detracted from the action. In fact, if anything, it added to the South African feel of the story. 

…miskien is a thought-provoking production. The English translation of the title is “maybe”, “perhaps”, “possibly”. And those were my thoughts after the play as I contemplated the nature of friendship. – Keith Millar