national Arts Festival Banner

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


(David Muller)

Durban can look forward to the return of the Merry Scholar, alias Cape Town actor, David Muller who is staging some of Herman Charles Bosman's best short stories in his Oom Schalk, from the Heart, the first of a series of shows David intends bringing to theatres around the country.

He arrives at DHS’s Seabrooke's Theatre direct from the National Arts Festival and will open on July 15 for a short season. Apart for one, all the stories in the show have been related by Bosman's fictitious but much loved uncle, Schalk Lourens; and as a treat there is a surprise in store which in Lourens' parlance is in good upright taste. 

"One of the comments I have had about the show," says Muller, "is the surprise that it is in English. Quite amusing really for Bosman himself asked to be called 'bossman' and not 'bos' as in the Afrikaans for 'bush'. Of course people often say that he wrote Afrikaans in English,” he goes on to explain with a chuckle. ”This means that the show may be understood in both languages.”

Percy Sieff first performed Bosman's stories in Cape Town while Patrick Mynhardt toured South Africa and abroad quite extensively with various shows about Bosman's writings.

Although David Muller's performance of Oom Schalk, from the Heart is a first at Seabrooke's Theatre, he is no stranger to Durban's theatres. In the mid-80s, he was contracted to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, under Professor Pieter Scholtz and Themi Venturas, until the University of Natal disbanded its professional theatre company. This did not deter the illustrious actor from staying in Durban. Calling himself the Merry Scholar, he wrote 300 letters to as many schools offering his services as a drama workshop facilitator.

"I got three replies," explains David, "one said 'no thanks', one said 'maybe', while another said 'yes’!".

Since then he has not looked back, dabbling successfully in theatre-in-education, especially promoting a love for reading and storytelling, which he believes is a great way to educate young people. What better way than to do it through Schalk Lourens and with Herman Charles Bosman's short stories?

Oom Schalk, from the Heart will be staged at Seabrooke's Theatre from July 15. For bookings and further details contact Ailsa on 083 250 2690.